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Mi Ah Schoyen and Bjørn Hvinden

This chapter addresses the implications of climate change for welfare institutions in Europe. We argue that the linkages between social policy and climate change have consequences for what it means to make welfare states sustainable. Against this background, the chapter highlights four types of issues or questions that the research agenda on climate change and the welfare state needs to address: questions or issues of justice and distribution related to the unequal human, social and territorial impacts of climate change; the social consequences of climate policy; welfare state adaptations necessary to meet the direct and indirect consequences of climate change; and political conditions conducive to the reconciliation of ecological and social objectives in advanced and mature welfare states, including a shift towards forms of production, transport and consumption that are less harmful for the climate In conclusion, the chapter offers some reflections on what it will take to make a lasting move towards low-carbon societies in Europe and suggests that welfare state institutions may have a facilitating role in this process. Relatedly, we stress the need for a higher degree of cross-fertilization between scholarship on climate and energy policy and social policy.

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Rune Halvorsen, Bjørn Hvinden, Susan Kuivalainen and Mi Ah Schoyen

In the 2000s, the Nordic countries have been among the European countries with the highest share of young disability benefit recipients. An important question is therefore whether recent reforms of social protection policies in the Nordic countries have improved the employment prospects of young adults with disabilities. We address this question by looking at what implications income maintenance schemes, services and social regulations have for employment of disabled youth. We show that since the late 1990s, social protection policies have shifted in composition and balance between different types of policy instruments. Through a comparison of national policies, we offer an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of existing Nordic approaches and the scope for policy learning across the Nordic countries and beyond.

Open access

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

Bjørn Hvinden, Christer Hyggen, Mi Ah Schoyen and Jacqueline O’Reilly

The chapter presents the aims of the volume, notably to provide new knowledge about how young women and men experience and handle job insecurity in Europe. An important focus is the ways in which young adults deal with job insecurity through active agency. We ask how structural factors, including public employment and social services, community networks and families, enable or hamper such efforts. Moreover, we introduce the volume’s analyses of potential adverse long-term consequences of having lived at length with difficulties in finding suitable and stable jobs in young adulthood, specifically: scarring in the form of weaker long-term employment prospects, lower life earnings and reduced well-being. The analyses combine in-depth qualitative studies (life-course interviews), use of large-scale quantitative and comparative data, and an employer survey and factorial experiment. Finally, we present an overview of these methods and key concepts, including well-being, scarring, resilience, active agency and negotiation.

Open access

Jacqueline O’Reilly, Bjørn Hvinden, Mi Ah Schoyen and Christer Hyggen

This chapter summarizes the main results presented in the volume. It discusses the range of factors influencing young people’s well-being, their risk of scarring from prolonged job insecurity, their active agency in negotiating these situations in times of austerity and, finally, their prospects for making stable transitions to adulthood. Overall, the analyses show that the potential impact of employment services and active labour market policies in moderating the adverse effects of youth unemployment vary across national contexts, labour market situations and sectors. Apart from local-level public services, social networks and family support are important factors in converting resources and latent opportunities into desired outcomes, but again cross-national variations are notable. Finally, the chapter draws together the book’s main answers to the question as to how policymakers at different territorial levels can improve policies to integrate young people into the labour market.

Open access

Bjørn Hvinden, Jacqueline O’Reilly, Tomáš Sirovátka and Mi Ah Schoyen

The financial crisis has had disproportionally negative effects on the job prospects of young people in Europe. Even in countries and regions less affected by the crisis, a growing number of young people have trouble finding a suitable job. Structural changes in labour markets caused by stronger global competition, combined with new policy frameworks that have weakened employment security and income protection, mean that young people are increasingly likely to find work in temporary, part-time, low-paid and precarious jobs. The chapter discusses different meanings of the concept of early job insecurity and presents key concepts (resilience, capability and active agency) for understanding how many young people cope with such insecurity and avoid its more adverse effects. Finally, the chapter outlines how coordinated public policies might promote the active agency of young people.

Open access

Bjørn Hvinden, Jacqueline O’Reilly, Tomáš Sirovátka, Mi Ah Schoyen and Christer Hyggen

The chapter asks how policies to integrate young people into the labour market can be improved. The key message is that there is a need for a broad mix of national policies, including active labour market policies, education policies, employment protection legislation and unemployment income protection. These policies have to be coordinated – at each territorial level as well as between levels. The chapter summarizes the achievements and shortcomings of European countries in the light of five contrasting policy mixes or ‘employment regimes’ (inclusive, employment-centred, liberal, sub-protective and transitional/post-socialist). Finally, the chapter outlines a number of specific policy recommendations grouped under the headings ‘Improving governance’ and ‘Improving the substance and quality of measures’ and concludes with a list of eight key policy recommendations linked to main findings from the project.

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.