Throughout the European Union, Governments have been concerned with the increasing levels of youth unemployment. Rates of youth unemployment tend to be higher than among the general population, and there is a serious risk of marginalization and exclusion among young people. In May 1994 the rate of youth unemployment within the EU was around 21%, more than twice the rate experienced by adults (9%) Indeed, in Northern Europe, as in the other member states, about 35% of the unemployed population are under 25 years old (although this age group comprises only 20% of the total work force).
The study will focus on a number of different research questions which ultimately help to provide an explanation of the ways in which unemployment experiences lead to social exclusion:
- How are different levels of youth unemployment in different countries with different educational, labour market and social policies related to the marginalisation processes and how do different career trajectories lead to the integration or social exclusion of young people ?
- How are young people's trajectories related to the previously identified problems among unemployed youth. How are mental health problems, drug use and criminality related to different level of unemployment insurance and job search behaviour in young people?
- How do different active labour market measures in different countries influence the ways in which the long term mployed cope with unemployment in ways which prevent social exclusion and marginalization ? In order to conduct this study, we will carry out surveys among representative samples of between two and three thousand young people in each of the seven countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Norway, Scotland and Sweden). Previous research in all the involved countries have given knowledge about how the unemployed group differ from those in work or education, showing that unemployed young people is a very vulnerable group. However, we know less about determinants of the unemployment career in the different countries. The sample will therefore be drawn from national unemployment registers with eligible respondents defined as young people between the ages of 18 and 25 who have been unemployed for a period of at least three months over the previous year. The sample will therefore consist of young people with a variety of work histories who, at the time of the interviews, are located in a full range of positions inside and outside of the labour market. This survey design will be conducive to a comparison of young people with unemployment experience some of whom have managed to establish positions in the full time labour market, others who have re-entered full-time education and others who have remained unemployed, withdrawn from the labour market or become marginalised in some other way.
The surveys will initially be based on postal questionnaires with additional strategies employed to minimise bias due to a skewed response rates. Those who fail to respond to the initial questionnaire after having been sent a reminder will first be contacted by telephone and subsequently visited personally by an interviewer. These measures are necessary in a study of unemployment and exclusion where young people without work have been found to be less likely to respond.
The research group consists of researchers active in the northern European periphery (Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Scotland and Ireland) all of whom have worked for many years with unemployment research and who have a special knowledge of youth research.
It is important to stress that the Nordic participants in this group has already had five meetings this year to prepare the research design and questionnaire content. The surveys in the Nordic countries will be carried out in October 1995. Further data collection and analysis will be carried out in 1996 and 1997.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
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