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Going nowhere? Rural youth employment, social capital and migration in Britain -PhD thesis-


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This thesis addresses the lack of literature on rural youth employment
prospects. Using data from the British Household Panel Survey and
fieldwork conducted in the West Midlands, I ask to what extent is rural
location a labour market disadvantage for young people? Social capital,
identified as a pertinent concept in the few previous studies, is
operationalised in terms of two constituent elements: norms, affecting
youth earnings, and networks, determining one’s ability to find work –
more so in rural areas than in urban, due to the relative absence of big
business, and nepotistic recruitment practices. Transport is also a
more significant barrier to employment for rural youth. I find that
rural youth earn less than urban counterparts despite rural wages being
higher overall. This pay penalty is a distinctly rural youth
disadvantage, and can last well into adulthood for those who do not
relocate to urban areas. In conclusion, I argue that investment in rural
jobs and public transport or vehicle lease schemes would improve rural
youth employment prospects. If such investment is not forthcoming,
relocation schemes might extend opportunities to those willing to
migrate for work.


Rural Economics, Migration, Young People, and Labour Market



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