Understanding Perceived Worker Insecurity in Europe, 2002–2016: Economic Freedom and Neoliberalism as Alternative Theories?

This study engages theories of economic freedom and neoliberalism as alternative ways of understanding workers’ perceived job and labor market insecurity. The results of hierarchical ordered logit and linear models of multiple rounds/waves of European Social Survey and European Working Conditions Survey data between 2002 and 2016 reveal some support for one hypothesis derived from each set of theories in basic models: As theories of economic freedom anticipate, the levels of worker insecurity are generally lower in countries that are currently more “economically free”; as theories of neoliberalism anticipate, the levels of insecurity are higher in countries that have increased levels of economic freedom, or “neoliberalization,” in about the past five years, but this relationship is limited to pre-2010 survey data. Altogether, the findings, including of more complex models, suggest these theories account for worker insecurity in Europe, but neoliberalization’s effects are selective, unemployment also matters, and synthesis is needed.


Author(s) J.C. Dixon
Language English
Year of publication Jul, 2019
Journal Sociological Perspectives
Page(s) 1–24
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