Temporary work and neoliberal government policy: evidence from British Columbia, Canada
ABSTRACT We examine the impact of government policy on the incidence of temporary work by analysing the case of British Columbia (BC), Canada. The analysis is based upon the Canadian Labour Force Survey 1997-2004; temporary work is defined as work that is not expected to last for more than 6 months and includes seasonal, fixed-term, casual, and temporary help agency work. A case study of BC provides a valuable opportunity to assess the impacts of neoliberal government policy, designed to increase labour market flexibility, on the extent of temporary work because we are able to compare labour market trends in BC both before and after the reforms introduced in 2001 and to compare BC with other provinces in Canada that were not subject to such large changes in their policy environments. We find that the shift to neoliberal policies in BC led to significant increases in the likelihood of workers finding themselves in temporary employment. We also find that the likelihood of being a temporary worker in BC in the post-policy change period increases relative to all other provinces over the same period. Taken together, these results indicate that government policy is a key determinant of the level of temporary work. As such, the level of temporary work should be seen as a policy-sensitive variable, rather than as a phenomenon determined solely by the exogenous forces of globalization and technological change.
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ABSTRACT: Because temporary jobs are time-delimited, their implications for workers’ economic security depend not only on their current characteristics, but also their place in longer-term patterns of mobility. Past research has typically asked whether temporary jobs are a bridge to better employment or trap workers in ongoing insecurity, investigating this question by analyzing single transitions. We demonstrate that this approach is ill-suited to assessing the often more complex and turbulent employment patterns characteristic of temporary workers. Our analysis instead employs sequence methods to compare a representative sample of temporary workers’ month-by-month mobility patterns through 8 potential (non)employment states over five years. We derive a typology of trajectories and describe their relative precariousness in relation to employment stability and wage and earnings levels and growth. While some of the pathways correspond quite closely to frameworks used by past research, others reveal new and important distinctions. Multinomial logit models reveal job, employer, and worker characteristics associated with different pathways. Age, gender, and type of temporary work stand out as important factors shaping subsequent mobility patterns.Social Science Research 11/2014; 50. DOI:10.1016/j.ssresearch.2014.11.003 · 1.27 Impact Factor
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