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 examines 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, the transition to adulthood, 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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  • July 2018
  • 248 pages
  • 158 x 232 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $69.95
  • 9781509506491
  • Paperback $24.95
  • 9781509506507
  • Open eBook $20.00
  • 9781509506538
Table of Contents
  • List of figures
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
  • Part I. Theoretical Foundations
  • 1. The New Age of Precarious Work
  • 2. Social Welfare Protection and Labor Market Institutions
  • Part II. Manifestations of Precarious Work
  • 3. Nonstandard Employment Relations
  • 4. Job Insecurity
  • Part III. Dimensions of Well-Being
  • 5. Economic Insecurity
  • 6. Transition to Adulthood and Family Formation
  • 7. Subjective Well-Being
  • Part IV. Responses to Precarious Work and Lives
  • 8. Politics and Policies of Precarious Work
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • References
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 2007-08
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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

"Precarious work is by construction a relative concept (precarious compared to some standard), and Precarious Lives is a model and a guide of how to think about this concept across countries, which in turn helps us to use it more analytically in any one country. Kalleberg's analysis shines [and] I am convinced that Precarious Lives should become, and will become, the leading monographic analysis of precarious work."
Chris Tilly, ILR Review

"In many ways, this book is vintage Kalleberg […].Using national-level statistics, Kalleberg carefully unpacks the complexity of precarious work and lives."
Ching Kwan Lee, American Journal of Sociology

 "From the doyen of precarious work research comes this comprehensive volume comparing the prevalence and consequences of job insecurity in six affluent democracies. […] The book is thorough, systematic and clear. Wherever prior research is dense or contradictory, Kalleberg is there to provide us a path through the thicket."
Allison Pugh, Social Forces 

"[I]nformative and thought-provoking […] This book makes a valuable contribution to the literature on employment relationships."
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