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Margherita Bussi, Bjørn Hvinden and Mi Ah Schoyen

Key aims of the European Social Fund have been economic redistribution and social cohesion within the EU. However, social policy research has taken little interest in the question of how resources channelled through the ESF affect employment and social welfare. Addressing this gap, the chapter retraces youth as a target population of the ESF over time and shows how ESF support for young people has evolved in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom since 2007. Overall, the result is an ambiguous picture regarding the ESF’s significance vis-à-vis young people at risk of long-term unemployment or precarity in the 2007–13 funding period. In the ongoing funding period (2014_20) efforts to tackle young people’s difficulties in the labour market have been stepped up. While the topic is clearly in need of further research, such efforts are frustrated by a lack of high-quality, comparative, quantitative data.

Open access

Margherita Bussi, Mi Ah Schoyen, Janikke Solstad Vedeler, Jacqueline O’Reilly, Ann McDonnell and Christine Lewis

This chapter focuses on the mechanisms underlying social resilience, concentrating on individuals who successfully coped with precarious employment when young. The capability approach and the concept of social resilience are used jointly. The first allows us to identify factors of conversion that helped transform (im)material resources into valuable outcomes. The second qualifies the individual negotiation process (coping, adaptive, transformative). We analysed life-course interviews with individuals living in Norway and the United Kingdom – two countries with distinctive youth transition regimes _ to capture interactions between institutional structure and individual agency. Both countries present examples of adaptive and transformative resilience, but the factors of conversion are different. Education coupled with institutional support from public employment services were relevant conversion factors for young Norwegians. In the United Kingdom, by contrast, the voluntary sector, informal networks and education were more likely to fill the gap of a non-punitive support system.

Open access

Sara Ayllón, Margherita Bussi, Jacqueline O’Reilly, Mi Ah Schoyen, Ida Tolgensbakk and Ann McDonnell

This chapter asks whether young people change their behaviour and attitudes towards drug use in times of economic crisis and, if so, how. We address this question looking at the links between early job insecurity and drug consumption through quantitative and qualitative data. What role might drugs have in creating and coping with unstable personal situations and ‘unconventional’ transitions into adult life? We find that increased unemployment is associated with a rise in the consumption of certain drugs, and we explore the bounded agency of young people’s subjective experiences in such situations.