Youth Unemployment

Expectations of Job Instability, Job Insecurity and Earnings Risk: A Pilot Study of Young Skilled Unemployed in Italy

Europe is facing a job crisis that hit young people particularly hard. Between 2007 and 2012, employment in Greece, Ireland and Portugal declined as a whole by 1.6 million, but 75 per cent of this reduction was concentrated among young people aged 15-34 years (ILO 2014). A particularly worrisome trend is the large employment gap for young adults, aged 25-34. Italy is one of the countries that have suffered the highest rise in unemployment among young adults, and a sharp increase rise in fixed-term and temporary employment contracts among those employed. In the second trimester of 2014 the unemployment rate for the 25 to 34 age group hit a record high of 19 per cent, which is 6 per cent higher than the EU average, and the highest growth in unemployment since 2011 among any age group. At the same time, real wages substantially decreased, and non-standard types of employment (temporary employment, fixed-term contracts, etc.) have sharply increased, even among the skilled group of 25 to 34 years old that completed a University degree (AlmaLaurea 2014).

In a labour market that is characterized by a record high unemployment rate and growing instability, which employment and earnings’ prospects do young adults expect to have? And what are the consequences of these expectations on their life choices and behaviours? By answering these questions, the goal of this project is twofold: first, to measure the amount of job insecurity and earnings risk that young unemployed expect to face, and, second, to assess the impact of this perceived job insecurity and earnings risk on several important choices and behaviours such as looking for a job (and which type of job), having a child, getting married, being politically active, as well as aspects of wellbeing such as feelings of insecurity and lack of self-confidence. In order to reach these goals, I have developed an innovative questionnaire that, for the first time for a sample of young unemployed, collects a rich set of quantitative expectations data on future expected earnings and employment prospects.

I administered my questionnaire between January and February 2015 to a nationally representative sample of over 1,000 Italian males and females unemployed University graduates aged between 25 and 34 who graduated between 2011 and 2013.

Preliminary Results:

The first empirical results of the project were presented at the two following invited talks:

31 May 2015: invited talk at 2015 Trento Festival of Economics “Social Mobility”, Trento, Italy. VIDEO in Italian

20 April 2015: invited talk at Roberto Franceschi Network Conference “La grande emergenza della disoccupazione e della precarietà: risvolti sociali, possibili rimedi”, Milan, Italy. SLIDES & VIDEO in Italian.

Working Papers:

Binelli, Chiara. 2015. “Expectations of Job Instability, Job Insecurity and Earnings Risk: A Pilot Study of Young Skilled Unemployed in Italy.”

Loveless, Matthew and Chiara Binelli. “Expectations of Future Economic Security and National System Support: Evidence from Italy


Binelli, Chiara. 2016. “Giovani e futuro. I laureati italiani senza lavoro” In: Giovani oggi, sognare si puo’?, PEDAGOGIKA, Volume 3.


  • 26 October 2016: “Expectations of Job Instability, Job Insecurity, and Earnings Risk: A Pilot Study of Jobless Young Skilled in Italy”. Invited seminar at AlmaLaurea, Bologna, Italy.
  • 20 July 2016: “Expectations of Job Instability, Job Insecurity and Earnings Risk of the Italian Skilled Unemployed: Patterns and Impact on Behaviour” (joint with Matthew Loveless). Invited seminar at INPS, Rome, Italy.
  • 27 May 2016: “Expectations of Job Instability, Job Insecurity, and Earnings Risk: A Pilot Study of young Skilled Unemployed in Italy”. Invited seminar at Prometeia, Bologna, Italy.

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