Precarious LivesJob Insecurity and Well-Being in Rich Democracies
Precarious Lives
Job Insecurity and Well-Being in Rich Democracies

Employment relations in advanced, post-industrial democracies have become increasingly insecure and uncertain as the risks associated with work are being shifted from employers and governments to workers.

Arne L. Kalleberg sets out to examine the impact of the liberalization of labor markets and welfare systems on the growth of precarious work and job insecurity for indicators of well-being such as economic insecurity, family formation and happiness, in six advanced capitalist democracies: the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Spain, and Denmark. This insightful cross-national analysis demonstrates how active labor market policies and generous social welfare systems can help to protect workers and give employers latitude as they seek to adapt to the rise of national and global competition and the rapidity of sweeping technological changes. Such policies thereby form elements of a new social contract that offers the potential for addressing many of the major challenges resulting from the rise of precarious work.

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  • June 2018
  • 248 pages
  • 152 x 229 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $69.95
  • 9781509506491
  • Paperback $24.95
  • 9781509506507
  • Open eBook $24.95
  • 9781509506538
About the Author
Arne L. Kalleberg is a Kenan Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and served as President of the American Sociological Association in 2007-2008
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"This book addresses one of the most pressing issues of the day: how precarious work is leading to precarious lives. By drawing on experiences in six diverse countries, it provides a potentially optimistic agenda for policy to halt or reverse the damage. In calling not only for wider social protection for all engaged in all forms of work but also for action, supported by worker organization, to change employer practices and stem the growth of precarious work, Kalleberg offers a useful alternative policy framework to the ultimately defeatist basic income approach where regulation of employers and of work itself is downgraded.”
Jill Rubery, The University of Manchester

"This latest book by Arne Kalleberg offers a powerful conception of precarity, how it takes distinct forms under different employment regimes, and – most important perhaps – how the rise of precarious work has reached deep into the private realm, threatening the well-being and family lives of workers. Sure to become a classic in the field."
Steven Peter Vallas, Northeastern University

"This is a valuable extension to Kalleberg’s earlier influential book - ‘Good Jobs, Bad Jobs’ - on employment change in the US. It builds skilfully upon the rich literature on the importance of national institutional differences for the experience of work in Europe to emphasize the significance of welfare and labour market institutions for the prevalence and consequences of precarious forms of employment. It convincingly makes the case that the changing nature of jobs is not determined by technology, or by an inevitable logic of capitalism, but depends crucially upon politics."
Duncan Gallie, Nuffield College, Oxford

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