Job Insecurity Perceptions and Media Coverage of Labor Market Policy

Abstract

This study employs a panel data set that combines information obtained from media content analysis, micro-level survey data, and macroeconomic variables to investigate the impact of media coverage on individual perceptions of job insecurity in Germany. Estimates indicate that these perceptions increase in years with greater quantity of news reporting. This volume effect is larger for socio-demographic groups with a generally low incidence of insecurity perceptions (e.g., highly educated and remunerated employees), which implies that unequally distributed perceptions converge when media coverage is strong. Moreover, the results suggest that information processing is subject to an optimism bias.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    http://www.mediatenor.com.

  2. 2.

    This study neither attempts to evaluate differences across individual media nor investigates high-frequency movements or other dynamic aspects. Such issues are beyond the scope of this analysis.

  3. 3.

    This includes all articles and reports on general labor market policy, e.g. news with respect to unemployment benefits, minimum wages, dismissal protection, labor market reforms or job-creation schemes. News coverage about labor market outcomes (e.g., vacancies, increasing or decreasing unemployment), other areas of economic policy (e.g., fiscal, monetary, or social policy) and the general economic situation (e.g., growth, prices, production, or consumption) is excluded. Media Tenor International provides illustrations of how articles are analyzed and topics identified on its website.

  4. 4.

    For the reach of the TV news audience, information was gathered from Darschin and Gerhard (2004), and Zubayr and Gerhard (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010) for the respective years. The numbers needed to construct the readership weights for print media are provided by the German Audit Bureau of Circulations (IVW).

  5. 5.

    This variable is only available for the years 2001, 2003, and 2007. As an approximation of the data for the missing years, this study used observations from the preceding years.

  6. 6.

    The GSOEP only provides monthly earnings, so hourly wages are approximated by dividing monthly wages by weekly working hours and multiplying the latter by 4.

  7. 7.

    A fixed-effects specification could be considered instead of the random intercept. However, consistent estimators for fixed-effects ordered-logit models continue to be developed, and practical applications are rare (Riedl and Geishecker 2010; Baetschmann et al. 2011). In addition, estimation with sampling weights is not possible in such settings, which favors a random intercept specification. The attempt to include a random intercept at the regional level creates convergence problems in some specifications. The macroeconomic variables are regional measures, so they likely control for most differences between federal states.

  8. 8.

    http://www.gllamm.org.

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Correspondence to Marcel Garz.

Additional information

I thank Ulrich Fritsche, Juliane Lischka, and Armin Rott for their helpful comments and suggestions.

Appendix

Appendix

Table 4 Robustness of the estimated media effects

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Garz, M. Job Insecurity Perceptions and Media Coverage of Labor Market Policy. J Labor Res 33, 528–544 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12122-012-9146-9

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Keywords

  • Job insecurity
  • Perceptions
  • Labor market policy
  • Media effects