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DUALISM, FLEXIBILITY AND SELF-EMPLOYMENT IN THE UK CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

Peter Nisbet
Work, Employment & Society
Vol. 11, No. 3 (SEPTEMBER 1997), pp. 459-479
Published by: Sage Publications, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23746225
Page Count: 21
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
DUALISM, FLEXIBILITY AND SELF-EMPLOYMENT IN THE UK CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY
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Abstract

The rise in the number of self-employed workers in the UK has been paralleled by increasing concern that the use of such 'peripheral' labour may result in the operation of a dual-labour market acting to reinforce segregation between 'good' core employment, characterised by higher pay, fringe benefits and job security, and 'bad' peripheral employment with adverse characteristics. In contrast, using evidence gained from a survey of workers in the UK construction industry, this paper shows that, for any occupation/level of skill, there are discrete advantages and disadvantages in both direct and self-employment. It is, therefore, argued that worker preference for a particular mode of employment is the key criterion which determines the case for either relative advantage or disadvantage. In particular, the evidence shows that the large majorities of both direct and self-employed workers who prefer their existing mode of employment undermines dualist conclusions of relative disadvantage arising from self-employment per se.

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