Temporary work and neoliberal government policy: Evidence from British Columbia, Canada

International Review of Applied Economics 09/2008; 22(5):545-563. DOI: 10.1080/02692170802287524
Source: RePEc


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.

1 Follower
14 Reads
  • Source
    • "Labour market reforms (Glyn, Howell and Schmitt, 2006; Peck and Theodore, 2000; Gregg and Wadsworth, 1995), employment and employment relations, including temporary work (Smith and Neuwirth, 2009; MacPhail and Bowles, 2008), agency work (Hoque and Kirpatrick, 2008), and what has more broadly been referred to as contingent employment (Bergström and Storrie, 2003; Purcell and Purcell, 1998) have all garnered significant attention from social scientists and management scholars. More specifically, employability, has gained renewed attention in political debate over the last decade (Berntson, Sverke and Marklund, 2006; Garsten and Jacobsson, 2004; Forrier and Sels, 2003). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This paper examines the Validation/Integration (V/I) project, a labour market initiative aimed at developing methods of validating the prior learning of recent immigrants to Sweden as part of their settlement support aimed at promoting their 'employability'. This study places the V/I project within its social and economic context and uses a constructivist perspective on organizing in order to problematize how ideas regarding employability are translated into practice within the project. The study proposes that the V/I project, notwithstanding its laudable intentions, by focusing on the bureaucratic requirements of employers and public organizations, promotes specific forms of employability and may thus formalize and reinforce the ethnic division of Sweden's labour market.
  • Source
    • "Further, in Canada, the increase in temporary work is likely greater than these aggregate percentages indicate given that among new hires, the percentage of temporary employment in total employment has increased substantially (Morissette and Johnson 2005). The increased prevalence of temporary work has been attributed to technological change, industrial structural change, and competitive pressures and uncertain product markets associated with globalization (Wiens-Tuers 200]; Morissette and Johnson 2005), along with the adoption of labour market policies that are intended to "deregulate" labour markets and to make them more "flexible" (Amuedo-Dorantes 2000; MacPhail and Bowles 2008). If most workers make the transition from temporary to permanent work then the costs of temporary work in terms of low economic security are less of problem from an individual perspective, as well as that of society. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The focus of this paper is on a microeconomic analysis of the annual transition rate from temporary to permanent work of individual workers in Canada for the period 1999–2004. Given that a large proportion of temporary employment is involuntary, an understanding of the factors associated with the transition to permanent work may inform public policy. Factors associated with the transition, namely, human capital, household structures and labour market segmentation are analyzed using data from the Statistics Canada’s Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics (SLID) for the period 1999–2004, limited to paid workers aged 20–64years, excluding students. Among the key factors associated with the transitions are younger age and low unemployment rates. The analysis adds to the Canadian and international literature on transitions from temporary to permanent work.
    Social Indicators Research 07/2008; 88(1):51-74. DOI:10.1007/s11205-007-9210-7 · 1.40 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Although the concepts of choice and agency have long been debated in relation to sex work, critics of neo-liberalism have begun to question the quality, conditions and limitations of the choices and agency of all workers (see Gordon 2004; MacPhail and Bowles 2008; Westcott et al. 2006). Neo-liberalism, which values private enterprise, individual autonomy and market freedom, has resulted in Western states significantly having reduced and reformed social services and the public sector since the 1980s (Ilcan 2009), as well as having moved away from directly providing income equality and stable employment conditions (Ilcan, Oliver and O'Connor 2007). "
Show more