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Measuring labour market segmentation for a comparative analysis among countries


This article raises one main question in a comparative analytical exercise between two countries in different continents, Spain and Argentina. To what extent does labour market segmentation generate similar dynamics of structuring of labour inequalities in two countries with different socio-economic contexts and social models, and which aspects are specific to each country? The article is the first an analytical work aimed at comparing European and Latin American countries from the theoretical perspective of labour market segmentation. We set two main objectives. The first was to construct an analysis model to study inequalities in the labour market in comparative terms between Europe and Latin America, taking as a reference Spain and Argentina. To this end, demand and supply variables were combined from an employment perspective. We sought to corroborate the general hypothesis that there is no single labour market that adjusts supply and demand, but that several segments can be expected to structure hierarchical positions in the labour market in line with specific labour supply profiles. We expected to obtain a high correspondence between the employment segments of the two countries, despite the contextual and socio-historical differences. The second objective was to propose a methodology to obtain two synthetic measures of labour market segmentation: first, a categorical measurement through a typology constructed from hierarchical positions and profiles using multivariate techniques (combining multiple correspondence factor analysis [MCA] and cluster analysis [CLA]); and second, a continuous measurement based on the results of factor analysis, resulting in a composite indicator of labour inequality.

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  1. INCASI aims to create and consolidate a network of research and training between Europe and Latin America. To this end, we carried out the project Global trends in social inequalities in Europe and Latin America and exploring innovative ways to reduce them through life, occupational and educational trajectories research to face uncertainty from January 2016 to December 2019. For more information, see the website

  2. This concept resembles in part the broader one of varieties of capitalist systems based on the comparison of social institutions (Menz 2008; Burroni 2016).

  3. For further analysis of pre-distributive and post-distributive inequality, see Hacker (2011) and Zalakain and Barragué (2017).

  4. The factor and classification analyses were performed with the Système Portable pour l ‘Analyses de Donées (SPAD) software, version 5.5.


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This article was drafted within the context of the INCASI Network, a European project that has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie GA No. 691004 and is coordinated by Dr. Pedro López-Roldán. This article reflects only the author’s view and the Agency is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

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See Tables 2, 3, 4 and 5.

Table 2 Frequency distribution of employment segmentation variables. Salaried population employed in 2016. Spain and Argentina
Table 3 Multiple correspondence analysis results. Variances of axes (eigenvalues)
Table 4 Multiple correspondence analysis results. Absolute contributions
Table 5 Cluster analysis results. Characterization of the typology by significative categories

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López-Roldán, P., Fachelli, S. Measuring labour market segmentation for a comparative analysis among countries. Soc Indic Res 154, 857–892 (2021).

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  • Labour inequality
  • Labour market segmentation
  • Typology
  • Composite indicator