The Effects of Unemployment on Non-monetary Job Quality in Europe: The Moderating Role of Economic Situation and Labor Market Policies

  • Jonas VoßemerEmail author


Previous research has illustrated that unemployment not only has short-term, but also medium-term negative effects on workers’ careers. While most studies have focused on employment chances and earnings losses, this article examines the effects of unemployment on four different facets of non-monetary job quality in Europe. Specifically, I take a comparative perspective investigating to what extent the effects of unemployment on subsequent occupational status, autonomy, authority, and job security are moderated by countries’ economic situation and institutions, including active and passive labor market policies in addition to employment protection legislation. The analyses draw on micro data from round 1–7 (2002–2014) of the European Social Survey including harmonized information about 125,000 workers nested in 34 countries for up to 7 rounds. Using two-stage multi-level models, the first-stage micro-level analyses reveal that unemployment has negative effects on all four facets of non-monetary job quality in the majority of the 164 country-rounds examined. Specifically, job security is negatively affected by experiences of unemployment within the last 5 years. However, at odds with the theoretical predictions, the second-stage macro-level analyses do not provide consistent empirical evidence for the moderating role of economic situation and labor market policies.


Unemployment Job quality Quality of work Comparative Cross-national Multi-level Labor market polices Welfare states Institutions 



The author thanks two anonymous reviewers as well as Michael Gebel, Paul Löwe, and Katharina Schmidt for helpful discussions and comments. I also thank the discussants and participants at the RC28 2016 Spring Conference “Intergenerational Transfer, Human Capital, and Inequality”, National University of Singapore, Singapore and the 3rd International ESS Conference “Understanding Key Challenges for European Societies in the 21st Century”, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland.

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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of BambergBambergGermany

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