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New forms of dualization? Labour market segmentation in the UK from the early 1990s to the late 2000s

Yoon, Yeosun (2016) New forms of dualization? Labour market segmentation in the UK from the early 1990s to the late 2000s. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (KAR id:54789)

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This thesis provides a quantitative investigation on issues of labour market divisions, focusing on the UK case between 1991 and 2010. Existing literatures offer a sophisticated account of the theoretical understanding of divisions within labour markets across different welfare states. Especially, amongst others, the most recent literature, termed dualization, has highlighted a dualistic pattern of division not only within the labour market but also in other spheres such as social security settings in many advanced industrial economies. It also emphasises the cross-national variation in the divisions of labour markets. Yet, the existing researches do have their limitations, particularly by the extent to which many studies rely on pre-defined patterns and features of divisions. In other words, rarely do these studies examine how and to what extent labour markets are divided. Rather, they assume that a specific type of division exists in a market and this assumption is applied to measure the extent to which this division can be observed. Thus, this thesis aims to overcome these limitations by investigating distinctive patterns and features of the divided labour market as well as matters concerning the positional stability of individuals of the UK's employed population over the past two decades using advanced quantitative methods (latent class, latent and regression modelling). By investigating the country in which dualization is deemed to be less likely to occur due to its liberal economic structures, the thesis also engages with the role of labour market institutions and their policies.

Results suggest that the UK labour market has been divided over the last 20 years and many socio-demographic indicators, such as gender, age and education, are attributed to the segmentation of labour force. This supports the theoretical literature on labour market divisions in that there are clear distinctions between those who are insiders and those who are not and that there are the contrasting demographics in different labour market segments. However, the clearest deviation from the existing literature is that the main characteristics that divide the groups in the UK labour market are not contract types but rather income levels, occupational profile, and social security benefits stemming from employment. Simultaneously, the divided labour groups indicated have relatively strong levels of positional stability between 1991 and 2010. Such an analytical outcome differs from previous theories' argument that the UK labour market has a flexible labour market structure which promotes frequent mobility amongst the labour force. In particular, the strong positional stability of the "insiders" regardless of different time points and scales was rather distinctive. Furthermore, of various individual-level indicators, trade unions have shown to be one of the core driving factors to reinforce the divisions in the UK labour market alongside the socio-demographic factors despite a radical reduction within their size and power over recent decades. Therefore, overall findings appear to be consistent with the broader argument of the existing literature on labour market divisions, that the "divides" do exist in the UK labour market. However, it provides less support for the recent suggestion that a specific pattern of division and its characteristics operate neatly across different countries. Such a result highlights the importance of further empirical investigations in order to understand the cross-national variations of labour market divisions.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Chung, Heejung
Thesis advisor: Taylor-Gooby, Peter
Uncontrolled keywords: labour market dualization, division patterns, UK, latent class analysis, latent transition analysis, longitudinal study
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Users 1 not found.
Date Deposited: 05 Apr 2016 11:00 UTC
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2022 15:16 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Yoon, Yeosun.

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