The socio-economic consequences of temporary employment:
A comparative panel data analysis (SECCOPA)
Duration: 1 April 2018 – 31 March 2023
Funding: European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant:
The project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (grant agreement No 758491).
Involved researchers at the University of Bamberg:
Prof. Dr. Michael Gebel (Project Director)
Dr. Jonathan Latner (Post-doctoral Research Associate)
Sophia Fauser (M.A.) (Doctoral Research Associate)
Sonja Scheuring (M.Sc.) (Doctoral Research Associate)
Temporary employment has become widespread in industrialized nations and many concerns have been raised about this development. Against this background, we will provide new insights into the multi-faceted socio-economic consequences of temporary work. Theoretically, this project is innovative by developing a multilevel dynamic model that combines ideas from sociology, economics, psychology, and social policy. Specifically, we will gain a novel, comprehensive understanding of how temporary jobs affect the employment and work career, risks of income poverty and material deprivation, and subjective well-being. This project aims at estimating causal effects of temporary work using panel data and applying state-of-the-art methods of modern causal analysis. Complementing the dominant “upward” comparison of temporary jobs to permanent ones with a “downward” comparison of temporary jobs to unemployment has the potential for producing ground-breaking results on the integrative potential of temporary work for the unemployed. Furthermore, new evidence on the heterogeneity in the effects of temporary employment at the micro-level will be gained by conducting detailed subgroup analyses. Moreover, this project will advance research by elaborating the socio-economic consequences of temporary employment in a dynamic process and life course perspective. The selection, treatment, and outcome dynamics are investigated by following temporary workers and their household living arrangements over time. While previous studies have only focused on individual workers, the important household perspective and its moderating role will be elaborated, too. Analysing Western and Eastern European countries as well as the liberal welfare states Canada, the United States, South Korea, Japan and Australia and applying innovative multilevel panel data methods will result in significant new insights and represent frontier research on the moderating role of the structural and institutional macro context.
Objectives (short description)
SECCOPA has six major objectives, which can be mapped into a multilevel structure according to the theoretical model. Table 1 illustrates the six major objectives, which will be explained shortly.
Table 1: Aims of the Project
(VI) Evaluating the moderating role of the structural and institutional context
(V) Evaluating the moderating role of the household context
(III) Estimating the causal effects of temporary employment
(IV) Unfolding the heterogeneity in the effects of temporary employment at the micro-level
(I) Understanding the multi-faceted socio-economic consequences of temporary employment and its interrelations in an interdisciplinary perspective
(II) Studying the socio-economic consequences of temporary employment in a dynamic process and life course perspective
(I) This project aims at conducting a comprehensive study of the multi-faceted social disadvantages temporary workers face. Specifically, the consequences of temporary jobs for (A) the employment and work career, (B) risks of income poverty and material deprivation, and (C) subjective well-being will be analysed. The multidimensional perspective provides new insights into the interrelations of the various dimensions. An interdisciplinary perspective, integrating ideas from sociology, economics, psychology and social policy, will be adopted in order to reach a full understanding.
(II) The socio-economic consequences of temporary employment in a dynamic and life course perspective will be investigated using panel data. Regarding the dynamics, the SECCOPA project seeks to study the (A) dynamics of the outcome, (B) dynamics of selection, and (C) dynamics of the treatment. This dynamic process perspective will be complemented with a life course perspective by providing a comprehensive analysis of the consequences of temporary work in different career stages.
(III) The third objective is to provide empirical estimates of the causal effects of temporary employment. This project will apply modern methods of causal analysis to panel data, e.g. innovative statistical matching techniques, fixed effects and fixed effect growth curve estimators and its combination in difference-in-difference propensity score matching. In order to estimate causal effects proper control group designs of “upward” and “downward” comparisons are implemented.
(IV) This research project aims at going beyond the estimation of the overall causal effects of temporary employment and elaborating on the heterogeneity in the effects at the micro-level in terms of the so called causal effect heterogeneity (i.e. effect differences by gender, age, life course stage and education) and treatment heterogeneity (i.e. effect variation across different types of temporary work).
(V) We aim to investigate socio-economic disadvantage both from an individual angle as well as from a household perspective taking the household composition and living and working conditions of other household members into account. It shall be analysed which household conditions mitigate or aggravate the socio-economic consequences of temporary work.
(VI) It is an aim to perform ground-breaking comparative panel data analyses on Western and Eastern Europe from the EU-SILC as well as national individual and household level panel data from Canada, the US, the UK, Germany, Switzerland, South Korea, Japan and Australia (panel data will be used that were summarized in the Cross National Equivalence File (CNEF); however, in the SECCOPA project the original versions of the national panel data sets are used in addition). The SECCOPA project will open new horizons by applying multilevel panel data analysis to identify the moderating effect of the structural and institutional context. While for the CNEF panel data, a qualitative comparative design in terms of single case studies and small-n comparisons will be adopted at the macro-level, the EU-SILC panel data allows to quantify the impact of macro-indicators. This will produce new policy-relevant findings on effective institutions.
Working packages and time schedule (short description)
The project is planned for the five-year period. Eight working packages (WPs) are defined. Table 2 provides an overview on the working plan and the timeline at the level of working packages. Detailed work tasks, deliverables and the teamwork will be clearly specified within each WP.
Table 2: Overview on working plan and time schedule
|WP1: Advancement of conceptual and methodological framework|
|WP2: Description of structural and institutional context|
|WP3: Preparing panel data sets|
|WP4: Descriptive analyses of temporary work and outcome dynamics|
|WP5: Causal analyses of socio-economic consequences in CNEF countries|
|WP6: Quantitative multilevel panel data analysis using EU-SILC|
|WP7: Dissemination, exploitation and transfer|
|WP8: Project management|
The aim of WP1 is to advance the conceptual and methodological framework. Integrating theories and empirical findings from various disciplines will create an interdisciplinary multilevel theoretical model. Furthermore, definition and operationalisations of key concepts are clearly specified.
The aim of WP2 is to provide a description of relevant institutional and structural settings in the selected countries based on the theoretical multilevel model (WP1). Detailed information on the macro-structural context, labour market institutions, the welfare regime, family and gender regimes and institutional reforms will be collected for the CNEF countries. A data base of macro-indicators will be created as a quantitative description of the macro-context of EU-SILC countries.
WP3 is dedicated to preparing the quantitative panel data based on the guidelines of WP1. National panel data sets from CNEF countries and the data from EU-SILC countries will be prepared separately by two teams, but there will be a strong exchange between team members. An intuitive and transparent system for data management will be implemented. Quality assurance and control principles are applied.
In WP4 descriptive analyses of the longitudinal data will be performed on the interrelations between temporary work and the socio-economic outcomes based on the prepared data (WP3) and theory (WP1). Descriptive analyses are done separately for CNEF and EU-SILC data sets due to their different focus, but there will be strong exchange between both groups of researchers in order to line up analyses and research findings. The key descriptive findings will be summarized and cumulate into a descriptive report.
In WP5 detailed causal analyses of the socio-economic consequences are conducted for CNEF countries. Drawing on WP1, WP3 and WP4, modern methods of causal analysis are applied to identify the effects of temporary work on (A) the employment and work career, (B) income poverty and material deprivation, (C) well-being in a dynamic perspective, the heterogeneity of effects and the causal interrelations. Small research teams take the responsibility for one research subtopic each, but research teams communicate and compare findings for scientific cross-fertilization and to produce a set of generalizable findings. Final results of these causal analyses will be submitted to academic journals.
In WP6 causal analyses of the socio-economic consequences are conducted for EU-SILC countries. Drawing on WP1, WP3 and WP4, methods of modern causal analyses are used to reveal the socio-economic consequences in each country. Then, multilevel panel data models are estimated to measure the impact of the institutional and structural context using the macro-indicators from WP2. Final results of the multilevel panel data analyses will be submitted to academic journals.
WP7 refers to the dissemination, exploitation and transfer activities, which will be carried out for the entire time: project homepage, social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook), newsletters, engaging in scientific exchange at conferences and during research visits. It is the aim to publish articles in SSCI-listed journals and to make one international book publication. The synthesis of the findings enables us to formulate policy recommendations that will be disseminated in policy briefs.
WP8 is dedicated to establishing and maintaining effective management structures for the entire time. The management activities should ensure a smooth workflow to achieve the objectives, the coordination of tasks, progress assessment and quality control mechanisms by defining project standards.