Examining flexible labour in Europe: the first three waves of the ECHP

Publication type

ISER Working Paper Series

Series Number



ISER Working Paper Series


Publication date

October 1, 2000


This paper uses the European Community Household Panel study (ECHP) to profile labour market experiences in the European Union. Cross-sectional snapshots of labour markets miss out on part of the range of transitions between employment and non-employment. Panel data allows a more accurate assessment of the degree to which experience of unemployment and household work poverty are shared or concentrated among sections of national populations. Indeed, we find that the proportion of months which individuals and which all working age adult members of households spent in unemployment accounts for some variations in labour market experiences. This paper demonstrates the value of focusing on transitions between employment and non-employment (as opposed to tracking transitions in and out of unemployment) when examining the impact of the flexible labour market on earnings and poverty. We also examine the consistency of individual employment histories, and propose strategies for dealing with inconsistencies in information offered by respondents.



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