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Temporary Employment: Chance or Risk?

Johannes Giesecke and Martin Groß
European Sociological Review
Vol. 19, No. 2 (Apr., 2003), pp. 161-177
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3559507
Page Count: 17
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Temporary Employment: Chance or Risk?
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Abstract

The paper investigates whether increased labour-market flexibility leads to a reinforcement of the existing segmentation of the labour market or to a dismantling of barriers in the labour market. Using spell data (employment and unemployment periods) from the German Socio-economic Panel (GSOEP, time period: 1984-1999), both determinants of temporary employment and their consequences (e.g. renewed temporary employment, unemployment) are investigated with the help of random-effects logit-models. The results show that respondents' characteristics (amount and type of human capital, previous periods of unemployment), structural variables (industry, firm size), and occupational characteristics (position, marginal employment) influence the risk of finding a temporary job. Furthermore it is shown that fixed-term contracts increase the risk of finding another temporary job or of becoming unemployed after termination of the contract. These results show that fixed-term contracts are primarily part of the secondary labour market, and that they have negative consequences for the employees in this segment. At the same time fixed-term contracts can be seen as providing opportunities in that they are at least an alternative to unemployment. Therefore, an overly simplistic evaluation of temporary employment is to be avoided.

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