Recovery from the great recession: A lost generation or an enforced selection process?

The Great Recession and its aftermath hit most of the European countries severely. Especially young people suffered by both an increasing risk of becoming unemployed and a prolongation of individuals’ duration of staying unemployed. Already in 2010, politicians reactivated the term “lost generation” to characterise the situation of young people in the years of the great recession. In fact, youth unemployment increased until 2013 by numbers and rates, and the duration of unemployment experience prolonged. However, from a research perspective it is still unclear, in how far the recession cohorts (here the school leavers, who left the educational system in the years of recession) became a lost generation. The term lost generation is used in a double sense here:  experiencing a delayed entry into the working life and starting at an insecure or precarious level of employment with lower perspectives to recover. From that perspective, the Great Recession worked as a cohort-specific obstacle. The alternative hypothesis is, the great recession amplified the selection process whilst the school-to-work-transition. Thus, not cohorts in general but disadvantaged groups (poor school performance, migrants, etc.) suffered most from the years of crisis and experienced a precarious school-to work transition. Employing Eurostat Labour Force Survey (LFS) data, individuals transition from school to work and the first years in the labour market will be analysed before whilst and after the years of recession. Pseudo-panel techniques are used, to control for group specific characteristics (school performance, social background etc.) when analysing the school to work transition process.

Dr Hans Dietrich

Dr Hans Dietrich research focuses on school to work transitions and youth unemployment in Germany and Europe; and labour market policy for young people in Germany. He is currently working on several projects including the WELLCOME project which is collecting multiple waves of data from young Syrian refugees; and an examination of the associations between youth unemployment, mental health and labour market outcomes. Dr Dietrich is a board member of the European Network on Transition in Youth and of the Luxembourg Youth Report. He has published in both German and English language journals. Although most of his research is based on data collected in Germany, he has also conducted analysis of the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) data.