How are social divides produced in contemporary European labour markets? A macro-micro-macro study of the impact of labour market policy, employment and welfare institutions on workers working conditions and job quality
This is the first study investigating the interaction of macro- and micro-forces producing social divides in contemporary European labour markets by using a macro-micro-macro research model. Social divides are defined as differences in working conditions and job quality of different groups of workers. The research project consists of several steps. Firstly, by using latent class analysis social divides are uncovered. Secondly, country-level contextual variables (variants of European labour market policies, industrial relations and welfare arrangements) are used to examine their impact on differences between groups of workers, resulting in a multi-level latent class model. Thirdly, actors’ strategies and social processes are used to analyse social divides in a selection of firms in Belgium and Germany through qualitative case studies. In the fourth step, the results of the quantitative and qualitative analyses are integrated so that a comparative European picture emerges of how the macro-level factors and social micro-level processes shape social divides in contemporary European labour markets.