Employment Status and Political Participation: Does Exclusion Influence the Protest Behavior of the Young Unemployed?

  • Marco GiugniEmail author
  • Jasmine Lorenzini


This chapter examines the relationship between employment status and the political participation of young people. We focus more specifically on the impact of long-term unemployment on the participation of youth. We aim to determine whether exclusion from the labor market deters the potential that youngsters have for political participation and therefore for taking part in the democratic process. We focus in particular on the propensity of young long-term unemployed people to engage in collective action and, more specifically, in protest activities. Using survey data drawn from a EU-funded research project, we find, firstly, that young unemployed and regularly employed youth do not differ significantly on five broad forms of participation considered (voting, contacting, group activities, consumer activities, and protest activities), nor do they differ on the overall political participation. Second, we focused on three kinds of exclusion that may arise from being unemployed (economic, social, and political) and looked at whether young unemployed and regularly employed youth differ in this regard. Here we found that the two groups differ significantly on all three counts, young unemployed being more excluded on all three counts, but the difference is greater on the economic dimension than on the social and political dimensions. Third, we zoomed in on the sample of young unemployed people in order to test for the effect of three kinds of exclusion on their propensity to engage in protest activities. Two forms of exclusion have a statistically significant effect on the use of protest activities by young unemployed people: economic exclusion and social exclusion. However, while economic exclusion encourages the young unemployed to be politically active, social exclusion seems to deter political participation, at least as far as protest is concerned.


Labor Market Social Capital Social Exclusion Political Participation Voluntary Association 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Département de science politique et relations internationalesUniversité de GenèveGeneva 4Switzerland

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