Flexible contract workers in inferior jobs: reappraising the evidence
There has been concern that the increase in non-standard or flexible employment contracts witnessed in many OECD economies is evidence of a growth in low-pay, low-quality jobs. In practice, however, it is difficult to evaluate the `quality' of flexible jobs. Previous research has either investigated objective measures of job quality such as wages and training or subjective measures such as job satisfaction. In this paper, we seek to jointly evaluate objective and subjective elements of flexible employment contracts. Specifically we develop and use an index of job quality that incorporates both subjective and objective elements. Analysis of this index demonstrates that flexible jobs are of a lower quality. However, this approach suggests that analysis of, for instance, job satisfaction alone overstates the negative impact of flexible contracts on workers.
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