Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Measuring the Utility Cost of Temporary Employment Contracts before Adaptation: A Conjoint Analysis Approach

Pouliakas, Konstantinos and Theodossiou, Ioannis (2008): Measuring the Utility Cost of Temporary Employment Contracts before Adaptation: A Conjoint Analysis Approach. Forthcoming in: Economica

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Abstract

This study attempts to estimate the ‘utility cost’ of temporary employment contracts purged of the psychological effects of adaptation. A conjoint analysis experiment is used that examines the ex-ante contract preferences of a unique sample of low-skilled employees from 7 European countries. It is shown that permanent contract holders request a significant wage premium to move to a temporary job. In contrast, temporary workers are indifferent between permanent and temporary contracts, ceteris paribus. The evidence suggests that individuals have a psychological immune system which neutralises events that challenge their sense of well-being, such as job insecurity. The methodology developed in this paper can provide policymakers with an alternative and relatively inexpensive method of quantifying the transitional loss (or gain) in welfare that individuals might experience in response to changing labour market policies.

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