In recent decades, global and European policy makers have been very slow in recognising youth unemployment and underemployment as a priority challenge requiring decisive policy responses. While an urgent concern at the global level, youth employment is not only an issue for developing countries: in recent decades, both developed countries and countries in transition have seen their labour markets incapable of integrating newcomers.
Youth unemployment is nowadays a crucial issue in the EU policy agenda. Several policy instruments have been designed to improve the labour market integration of young people. Up to now, the situation of youth in employment has not substantially improved. At the European Union (EU) level, the biggest challenge is to significantly increase participation rates in employment so as to limit, as much as possible, the effects of an ageing population, and overcome the negative economic consequences of a declining European labour force from 2010 onwards.
Moreover, these structural features of the unemployment in EU and Eastern Europe have been exacerbated by the recent recession following the international financial crisis. Many young people involved in temporary work will most likely loose their jobs due to the fact that labour market reforms have been implemented in most countries looking at flexibility side only (and not also at the security side).
This poses several policy questions:
1. How policy intervention might prevent some particularly weak young people to fall into long-term unemployment or temporary work experiences?
2. Is the springboard effect of temporary work contracts universal or is it linked to particular contractual conditions, such as type and length?
3. Which kind of labour active policy programmes or passive income support schemes should be implemented in order to reduce youth unemployment?
This project tries to answer these questions with an in-depth and systematic investigation in several directions.
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