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Exploring ‘generations’ and ‘cultures’ of worklessness in Contemporary Britain

Ralston, Kevin and Gayle, Vernon (2017) Exploring ‘generations’ and ‘cultures’ of worklessness in Contemporary Britain. Youth & Policy.

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Abstract

Politicians regularly make statements to the effect that there are two, three or even four generations, within the same family, that have never worked. Politicians are also on record as stating that there is a something for nothing culture. These concepts of generations and cultures of worklessness regularly appear in the traditional print media, internationally and in academia. Where the reasons for holding a belief are adequate and the belief formed from the available evidence is adequate, the belief may be understood as properly held. Where this is not the case the belief is improperly held. This paper uses the British Household Panel Survey to link information on individuals and between generations to assess whether belief in generations and cultures of worklessness are ‘properly held’. The level of intergenerational worklessness is quantified and the circiumstances of those out of work assessed. The descriptive analysis confirms previous research which finds no evidence for the generations and cultures theses. In the absence of corroborating evidence it is argued that the concepts of generations and cultures of worklessness should be treated as improperly held beliefs and it is time they are done away with.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HA Statistics
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
School/Department: School of Psychological & Social Sciences
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/2695

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