Two new publications by BIGSSS-fellow Matthias Pohlig › view all


'Occupational mobility in Europe during the crisis: Did the social elevator break?'

in: Research in Social Stratification and Mobility. DOI: 10.1016/j.rssm.2020.100549.


Sudden, disruptive social change resulting from economic crises may affect occupational structure and mobility. However, studies on social mobility have concentrated on secular trends of social change while recent studies on the impact of the Great Recession and the Eurozone debt crisis have focused on unemployment and wages. Therefore, it is unclear what effect these economic crises had on occupational mobility.

In this study, I sketch out a theory of occupational mobility during economic crises reviewing arguments for downgrading (threat of the ‘reserve army’), polarization (labour market segmentation) and upgrading (‘creative destruction’) from the literature. Then, I discuss how institutions in different types of market economies in Europe moderate these effects. Afterwards, I compare patterns of occupational mobility as movements between different skill levels in Europe before and during the Great Recession and the Eurozone crisis using longitudinal data from the EU-SILC for 27 European countries. First, I examine mobility rates; second, I fit a series of log-linear topological models to test whether upgrading, downgrading or polarization prevailed during the crisis. To account for differences in unemployment and re-employment risks, I include unemployment in the analysis. The results show that downward mobility in particular soared during the crisis, especially in the mixed market economies.


DOI: 10.1016/j.rssm.2020.100549

Direct link to the article, read here.


Does the household context matter for job satisfaction among low-wage workers?

Matthias Pohlig together with Sabine Israel and Irene Dingeldey; in: Economic and Industrial Democracy, OnlineFirst. DOI:10.1177/0143831X20975865.


Previous research has established that low-wage earners have on average lower job satisfaction. However, several studies have found personal characteristics, such as gender, age and educational level, moderate this negative impact. This article demonstrates additional factors at the household level, which have not yet been empirically investigated, and which may exacerbate gender differences. The authors analyse the job satisfaction of low-wage earners depending on the contribution of individual earnings to the household income and on household deprivation using the 2013 special wave of the EU-SILC for 18 European countries.

The study finds that single earners in low-wage employment report lower job satisfaction whereas low-wage employment does not seem to make a difference for secondary earners. Furthermore, low-wage earners’ job satisfaction is linked with the ability of their household to make ends meet.


Direct link to the article, read here.