Non-employment in Europe: A Comparative Analysis of Social Risk Groups in Household Contexts

Research question/goal: 

The European employment strategy seeks to increase employment rates of all social groups, thereby enlarging the focus from the unemployed to also the inactive, i.e. to all non-employed persons. The goal of this internationally comparative project is the analysis of the conditions for cross-national variations in non-employment and its varying socio-demographic composition. The project focuses on the impact of the welfare state context on the interaction of individual and social resources as well as constraints, which influence labour demand and supply. In particular, the project investigates the degree of non-employment of working age people, its multiple reasons and its role in the life course. Furthermore, the project analyzes non-employment in the household context and the dynamics between household members. Of particular interest are those socio-demographic groups and household types which are at higher risk of non-employment. In a first step (Western) European differences in individual non-employment are analyzed with macro-indicators. Thereafter longitudinal data on Germany is compared with four different employment systems: Denmark, United Kingdom, Italy, and the Netherlands. Combining internationally comparative macro-level analyses with micro-level data enables the project to study institutional configurations, individual factors, and household contexts as factors of non-employment and their causal interactions.

Current stage: 

Following the European comparison of non-employment patterns in Europe, the project focused in its second year of funding on longitudinal analyses of non-employment, applying individual life-course and household perspectives on panel data for Germany and Great Britain. The research results were presented at several international conferences and prepared for journal articles.

Fact sheet

2011 to 2014
Data Sources: 
international and national statistics and institutional data, cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses
Geographic Space: 
Western Europe, case studies of Germany, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Italy, and the Netherlands



Busemeyer, Marius, Bernhard Ebbinghaus, Stephan Leibfried, Nicole Mayer-Ahuja, Herbert Obinger and Birgit Pfau-Effinger (Eds.) (2013): Wohlfahrtspolitik im 21. Jahrhundert: Neue Wege der Forschung. Frankfurt: Campus. more