First SECCOPA journal publication on the effects of fixed-term employment and well-being

July 2, 2020

Sonja Scheuring published the first SECCOPA article on “The Effect of Fixed‑Term Employment on Well‑Being: Disentangling the Micro‑Mechanisms and the Moderating Role of Social Cohesion” in the SSCI-listed journal Social Indicators Research.

The paper adds to the literature on the impact of fixed-term employment on well-being from a cross-national comparative perspective. The article answers three research questions: (1) Is there effect heterogeneity across European countries? (2) To which extent does Jahoda’s Latent Deprivation Model provide a sufficient micro-level explanation for the underlying mechanisms?

(3) Does social cohesion on the macro-level weaken the effects on the micro-level? The effects are investigated in both an upwards (compared to permanent employment) and a downwards (compared to unemployment) comparative control group design. Due to the mediating role of social contacts on the micro-level, social cohesion on the macro-level is assumed to moderate the main effects: A high degree of social cohesion should substitute the function of social contacts in the work environment of individuals. Using microdata from the European Social Survey (ESS) 2012 for 23 countries and applying multilevel estimation procedures, the results indicate a remarkable variation in the effects across countries. Separate linear regression models for each country reveal that fixed-term employees have a lower subjective well-being compared to permanent ones with point estimates ranging from .17 to 1.19 units. When comparing fixed-term employees to unemployed individuals, the coefficients even range from − .27 to 1.25 units. More specifically, a negative effect indicates that having a fixed-term contract is worse than unemployment in some countries. Moreover, pooled linear regression models reveal that Jahoda’s Latent Deprivation Model explains about three-quarters of the micro-level effect sizes for both directions. Eventually, social cohesion on the country-level diminishes the individual-level well-being differences between fixed-term employees and permanent individuals but not between fixed-term employees and the unemployed.

The article is open access and can be downloaded here.

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