Job Insecurity and Well-being in Rich Democracies

  • Arne L. Kalleberg University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Keywords: employment, job security, welfare states


Precarious work (i.e., work that is insecure and uncertain, often low-paying, and in which the risks of work are shifted from employers and the government to workers) has emerged as a serious concern for individuals and families and underlies many of the insecurities that have fuelled recent populist political movements. The impacts of precarious work differ among countries depending on their labour market and welfare system institutions, laws and policies, and cultural factors. This article examines how people in six advanced industrial countries representing different welfare and employment regimes – Denmark, Germany, Japan, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States – differ both in their experience of precarious work and in outcomes of precarious work such as job and economic insecurity, entry into the labour force, and subjective well-being. It also suggests a new social and political contract needed to address precarious work and its consequences.