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Atypical Work and Health: Is There a Relationship?

Emanuele Antonino - Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di Milano - [2007-08]
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  • Tesi completa: 74 pagine
  • Abstract
    During the last decade of the 20th century many labour law reforms have been implemented across European countries which have liberalized many of the formerly strict regulations applying to temporary agency work and private employment exchanges. The past two decades have seen an increase in “atypical” forms of works in the majority of European countries - various terminology has also been used to describe atypical work, e.g., referring to it as “non-permanent employment” (De Cuyper et al., 2008; OECD, 2002), “contingent work” (Connelly & Gallagher, 2004; McLean Parks et al., 1998) or “casual work” (Wooden, 2001).
    Related literature is quite recent and the number of studies that focus on the role played by atypical forms of works on health status is scant, meaning that the empirical evidence and consequences remain unclear. The most closely related papers are that of Rodirguez (2002), who has found association between atypical works with poorer health outcomes in a study on German workers, and of Bardasi and Francesconi (2004) that find no effects in a study on British workers.

    The first part of this study looks at the recent trends on growth of atypical employment and on the process of flexibilization of Labor Market, proposed as a prerequisite for economic competition and also as a solution to current unemployment rates (European Commission 1995). A review of the recent literature on the effects that atypical jobs have on health workers is then presented. Evidence shows clearly that most of atypical workers in EU-25 are under 25 and that they are more vulnerable to economic recession – employers react to economic pressure by cutting back on hiring new young workers. In the second part the data-set utilized in the previous research are described, as well as that used for this empirical analysis.

    The purpose of this thesis is to investigate if there is a relationship between individual well-being and atypical employment (i.e., the “non standard” forms of work such as fixed term contracts, temporary employment agency contract or apprenticeship) among European countries. To describe the relationship between health and working conditions we use data from the Fourth European Working Conditions Survey (carried out in 2005), a panel of around 30,000 workers interviewed about to their working conditions. The health dependent variable used in the analysis is measured by two aspects - mental and physical – based on four subjective indicators derived from the General Health Questionnaire: stress, sleeping problems, anxiety and irritability for mental health; heart disease, respiratory difficulties, stomach and skin problems for physical health. To estimate the relationship were used probit regression models.

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