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School-to-work transitions in Europe: Paths towards a permanent contract

Garrouste, Christelle and Loi, Massimo (2011): School-to-work transitions in Europe: Paths towards a permanent contract. Published in: JRC Scientific and Technical Reports , Vol. JRC 67, No. 2011 (2011): pp. 1-52.


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In a context of intensive and global economic competition, European countries are growingly concerned with the consequences of increasing numbers of young people temporarily or permanently prevented from entering the job market and the difficulties faced by college and university graduates to find adequate employment. This study is concerned with analyzing the speed of transition of students to permanent employment as a proxy of professional stability, and by identifying possible discriminatory effects in selected countries. The research questions are addressed with a Cox survival model and a continuous-time Markov chain model where each individual can transit non-sequentially between the following Markov states: (1) education; (2) inactivity; (3)unemployment; (4) fixed-term/temporary employment; and (5) permanent employment (the 5th state being a non-absorbing steady state). The model is tested using the longitudinal ECHP data in thirteen EU member countries, over the period 1994-2001, controlling for individual and household characteristics and labour market characteristics (e.g., youth employment rate and share of temporary contracts). Overall, we find that the Mediterranean countries are the ones where the transition is the most hazardous both in terms of length and number of steps, but that in other countries, the speed of convergence is not necessarily correlated to the number of spells at intermediate states. Moreover, we find that the gender discrimination that affected most of the countries at the beginning of the 1990s, faded away by the end of the decade, replaced by a positive discrimination in favour of the graduates from vocationally oriented programmes.

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