Disentangling the (Long-Term) Effects of Fixed-Term Employment on Well-Being from a Country-Comparative and Household-Integrative Perspective

Faculty/Professorship: Fakultät Sozial- und Wirtschaftswissenschaften: Abschlussarbeiten ; Methods of Empirical Social Research  
Author(s): Scheuring, Sonja  
Publisher Information: Bamberg : Otto-Friedrich-Universität
Year of publication: 2022
Pages: viii, 254 ; Illustrationen, Diagramme
Supervisor(s): Gebel, Michael  ; Baranowska-Rataj, Anna; Schindler, Steffen  
Language(s): English
Kumulative Dissertation, Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg, 2022
DOI: 10.20378/irb-54805
Licence: Creative Commons - CC BY - Attribution 4.0 International 
URN: urn:nbn:de:bvb:473-irb-548058
This cumulative thesis raises the overarching research question: How does fixed-term employment affect well-being? Three smaller, more specific research questions emerge from this primary research question. First, what are the short- and long-term effects of fixed-term employment for the well-being of individuals and couples? Second, what are the mechanisms explaining the effects of fixed-term employment on well-being? Third and eventually, how do these effects vary across gender and contexts, and what are explanations for (no) variations? An overview article and five articles, of which three are published in SSCI-listed journals, answer these research questions.

In Article 1, I state three specific research questions: First, is there heterogeneity in the effect of fixed-term employment on well-being across countries? Second, are there mediation effects by the manifest and latent functions suggested by Jahoda’s Latent Deprivation Model on the effect of fixed-term employment on well-being? Third, do different degrees of social cohesion across countries moderate these effects? I examine the effect of fixed-term employment on subjective well-being compared to unemployment (downwards comparison) and compared to permanent employment (upwards comparison). I utilize European Social Survey (ESS) data from 2012 for 23 countries and apply multilevel estimation procedures.

Article 2 addresses two research questions: First, what are the effects of fixed-term employment trajectories, namely stepping stone, entrapment, and also in relation to long-term unemployment and stable permanent career, on subjective well-being? Second, how do these effects vary over time? I analyze these research questions using longitudinal data from the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) from 1994 to 2019 on labor market entrants. I apply a longer-term perspective on both the independent and the dependent variables.

Article 3 takes up a couple’s perspective on the effect of fixed-term employment on well-being. Here, my co-authors and I pose three research questions: First, what are the spillover effects of fixed-term employment on the well-being of partners? Second, are there differences in the spillover effects by gender and do these gendered differences vary by place of socialization? Third, does own well-being mediate the gendered effects and are individual effects mediated by perceived job insecurity and financial worries? Again, these research questions are examined using the SOEP, but for the period 1995–2017 and for heterosexual couples living together.

In Article 4, my co-author and I examine a specific mediation pathway of fixed-term employment on well-being, namely wealth and, more precisely, housing. The three research questions addressed in this article are: First, how do couples’ early career trajectories affect the probability of being homeowners later in life? Second, how do couples’ early career trajectories affect the share of income spent on rent later in life? Third, does joint cumulative income mediate the effects of couples’ early career trajectories on homeownership and the share of income couples spend on rent? As in Articles 2 and 3, this paper uses SOEP data, but this time from 1995 to 2018 for heterosexual couples between the ages of 18 and 38.

Article 5 takes the longest-term perspective of the five articles on effects of insecure employment on well-being in later life and considers the family perspective more directly. This article asks the main research question: How do early and mid-life gendered work and family trajectories affect self-rated health in later life in West Germany and Italy? My co-author and I examine this research question using data from the Survey of Health, Aging and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) and, in particular, from the retrospective SHARELIFE survey which collects retrospective life course data in accordance with the life course framework.

In summary, all five articles serve puzzle pieces to receive a more holistic picture of the effect of fixed-term employment on well-being. These puzzle pieces relate to the life course framework in different facets. All five articles show that fixed-term employment can have positive effects compared to unemployment. The findings are in favor of the integrational perspective on fixed-term employment contracts and contradict the notion that fixed-term employment traps individuals in lower labor market segments.
GND Keywords: Befristetes Arbeitsverhältnis; Wohlbefinden
Keywords: fixed-term employment, well-being, panel data analysis, multilevel analysis, sequence analysis, causal analysis, mediation analysis, befristete Beschäftigung, subjektives Wohlbefinden, Kausalanalyse, Paneldatenanalyse
DDC Classification: 300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology  
RVK Classification: MS 5000   
Type: Doctoralthesis
URI: https://fis.uni-bamberg.de/handle/uniba/54805
Release Date: 17. August 2022
Project: The socio-economic consequences of temporary employment: A comparative panel data analysis

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