Labor market disadvantage and political alienation: a longitudinal perspective on the heterogeneous risk in temporary employment

Abstract

This paper investigates whether and how individual shocks of temporary employment translate into feelings of political alienation. Recently, research started to investigate cross-sectional associations between temporary employment, political attitudes and behavior. Yet, the cross-sectional research so far struggles to disentangle empirically whether the relationship between temporary work and political orientations is determined by structural factors only – such as skill-set and education – or whether we are also able to observe the dynamic patterns suggested in theoretical arguments. This paper takes up the task of tracing the dynamic relationship between temporary employment experiences and adjustments in political orientations. It is argued that temporary employment has ambiguous effects on political orientations and that we are in need for convincing strategies to tackle this heterogeneity. Using perceived risk measures as mediators, we propose a strategy to capture the dynamic effects of temporary employment. Fixed-effects regressions show that if temporary employment experiences are translated by increases in perceived job insecurity and perceived financial insecurity, trust in politics starts to erode. The identification of such dynamic patterns is highly relevant for research on the political effects of labor market disadvantages.

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Acknowledgements

For helpful comments and advise, I would like to thank Patrick Emmenegger, Flavia Fossati, Paul Marx, and André Walter, as well as the two anonymous reviewers. Of course, all remaining errors are mine.

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Correspondence to Dominik Schraff.

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Schraff, D. Labor market disadvantage and political alienation: a longitudinal perspective on the heterogeneous risk in temporary employment. Acta Polit 53, 48–67 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41269-016-0037-6

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Keywords

  • labor market disadvantage
  • temporary employment
  • insider–outsider conflict
  • political alienation
  • panel data