WP9: Attitudes and Aspirations

WP Leader UNISA Niall O’Higgins
WP Co-leader UOXF Emanuele Ferragina

A diverse range of methodological approaches will be employed to examine beliefs and attitudes of young people towards work, families and society. In particular, the WP will compare how these attitudes and aspirations vary across different groups of young people focusing on the OECD’s distinction between (1) ‘poorly-integrated new entrants’ and (2) ‘youth left behind’. In so doing the WP will:

  1. Map the values of young people towards work and families;
  2. Conduct an experimental research design on trust;
  3. Compare the work aspirations of vulnerable young people in foster care;
  4. Undertake a comprehensive analysis of the incidence and determinants of labour market “outsiderness” in the 27 EU member states, and how these are mediated by different welfare institutions; and,
  5. Provide a synthesis of findings to inform policy making.
D 9.1 Report Aspirations of vulnerable youth in foster care
D 9.2 Report Value system shared by young generations towards work and family
D 9.3 Report The impact of youth unemployment on social capital
D 9.4 Report Youth as outsiders
D 9.5 Policy synthesis and integrative report

Work and Role of Partners

Task 9.1 – Values and Attitudes to work and family formation

  1. Are there significant differences between age cohorts attitudes’ to work, careers, family formation and independence?
  2. How have attitudes changed in the past decades?

The research will be based mainly on the ISSP work attitude modules (1989, 1997, 2006), included in EVS, WVS, ESS, Eurobarometer (all with high coverage, long time series but a limited number of family-work procedural and attitudinal proxies) and the HWF Generations and Gender Survey (with more limited coverage, but an extensive set of variables). The analysis will also include a set of contextual variables in order to analyse the impact of unemployment on attitudes. The idea is to merge those data which contain identical work attitude blocks using all available explanatory variables and add region (and if possible cohort) specific unemployment data. This will involve recomputing the national files into regional units and running multivariate regression analysis of the pooled cross-sectional data.

Task 9.2 – Social capital: An experimental approach

The key research questions to be answered are:

  1. Are there major behavioural differences between young people in different labour market states – for example between the unemployed and non-NEET who are not actively searching for work – and which characteristics are markers for these?
  2. What are the effects of unemployment on behavioural trust and reciprocity?
  3. Does (prolonged) unemployment reduce their sense of trust?

The task centres on an experimental analysis of behavioural trust using the Trust Game. Participants will include the employed on temporary and permanent employment and sub-groups of the non-employed. The experiment should cover around 750 participants from three countries: Italy, Austria and Hungary. Participants will respond to a questionnaire to elicit attitudinal trust and then – with a suitable temporal distance – play a fairly standard two round trust game (with real albeit small monetary rewards) to elicit behavioural trust. There are no significant ethical issues; the participants actions are completely anonymous, no deception of participants is involved, participation will be voluntary and the outcomes will depend purely on the interaction between participants’ behaviour, the rules of which – including the anonymity condition – are known to participants before making their choices.

Task 9.3 – Aspirations of vulnerable young people in foster care

What are the work aspirations of very vulnerable young people with multiple disadvantages? This task compares young people in foster care using a qualitative participative approach to identifying resilience strategies to help these young people in two very different institutional settings: the UK and Sweden. The aim of this task it to co-produce an output that is of value to the young people involved in the task in each country.

Task 9.4 – Young People as Outsiders

This task will provide an assessment of how different welfare state configurations and the specific generosity of labour market policy mediate the effect of “outsiderness” on social participation. To this end a mixed method approach will be used comprising:

  1. Quantitative analysis of the macro and micro determinants (including a insider/outsider variable) of participation in informal networks (e.g. frequency of getting together with relatives and friends) and formal networks (e.g. participation in activities of political parties and trade unions) employing multilevel logistic analysis of 25 European countries (Europe-25 before the enlargements to Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia) using the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions Dataset (2005-2011).
  2. Qualitative analysis of labour market outsiderness and societal participation using semi-structured interviews with representatives of youth groups (15 in each country) in Austria, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. These five countries are chosen because they are characterised by very different labour market conditions/outcomes, display distinct approaches to labour market policy and belong to different welfare regimes and worlds of capitalisms (Esping-Andersen 1990; Hall and Soskice 2001).

The purpose is to explore perceptions on:

  1. the causes of youth labour market outsiderness;
  2. the effectiveness of different EU-level and national-level policies to tackle youth labour market outsiderness;
  3. how youth labour market outsiderness affects their societal participation; and,
  4. the forms of political participation of young labour market outsiders.

Task 9.5 – Policy synthesis and integrative report

This will draw together the main policy relevant findings from each of the tasks in order to provide an overview on the nature, causes and consequences of vulnerability amongst young people and how it affects their attitudes and aspirations. It will also provide a synthesis across the WP and use this analysis to contribute to WPs 3 & 4.