The institutional drivers and consequences of
precarious work in the new economy
1.1 Mai, Quan. 2017. “Precarious Work In Europe: Assessing Cross-National Differences And Institutional Determinants Of Precarity In 31 European Countries” Research in the Sociology of Work (External Link)
Within the last few decades, precarious work rose as an important feature of socio-economic insecurity in contemporary Europe. Despite the prevalence of precarious work, the dynamics of cross-national variation of nonstandard employment remains an understudied theme. The study asks: How do various institutional features – such as party composition of governments and labor market institutions – shape the cross-national variation in the distribution and severity of precarious work in 31 European countries? This research captures the elusive concept of precarious work by measuring the degree to which a job  is insecure and uncertain,  offers poor prospects of career mobility, and  puts workers in an economically insecure position with low pay. Building from two theoretical paradigms, the varieties of capitalism (VoC) and the power resource approach (PRT), this study derives and tests hypotheses about how various political and labor market institutions shape the variation in distribution of precarious employment in 31 European countries. Combining the individual-level data from the 2010 European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) with country-level data from multiple sources, my findings suggest that workers’ exposure to job precariousness increase in countries with  strong historical presence of right-wing politics,  low levels of spending on unemployment benefits and ALMP,  weak labor unions,  a lack of focus on vocational training and firm-specific skills,  high unemployment rates and  a legacy of Post-socialism.
1.2 Mai, Quan, Anna Jacobs, Scott Schieman. "Precarious sleep? Nonstandard work, gender, and sleep disturbance in 31 European countries" Social Science & Medicine (External Link)
Despite the advent of precarious work, little is known about how this form of employment can generate disparities in sleep outcomes. We extend existing work by providing a theoretical framework linking different measures of work precarity to sleep problems. We argue that the association between objective precarious working conditions and sleep disturbance is channeled through and mediated by subjective work precarity. We further argue that gender moderates the relationship between objective and subjective work precarity. We test this theoretical framework using the 2010 European Working Conditions Survey. Our results indicate that objective precarious working conditions undermine sleep by promoting the subjective experience of insecurity. Furthermore, the indirect effect of objective precarious work on sleep disturbance through subjective employment insecurity varies by gender: compared to women in similar working conditions, men report higher levels of subjective precarity. This research makes important contributions to the literatures on the health consequences of nonstandard work and social determinants of well-being.
1.3 Mai, Quan, Terrence Hill, Luis Vila-Henninger, and Michael Grandner. Forthcoming. “Subjective Employment Insecurity and Sleep Disturbance: Evidence from 31 European Countries.” Journal of Sleep Research (External Link)
For nearly half a century, jobs have become increasingly characterized by employment insecurity. We examined the implications for sleep disturbance. We used cross-sectional data from the European Working Conditions Survey (2010). 24,553 workers between the ages of 25 and 65 in 31 European countries were asked to indicate whether they suffered from “insomnia or general sleep difficulties” in the past 12 months. We employed logistic regression to model the association between employment insecurity and sleep disturbance for all countries combined and each individual country. For all countries combined, employment insecurity increased the odds of reporting insomnia or general sleep difficulties in the past 12 months. Each unit increase in employment insecurity elevated the odds of sleep disturbance by approximately 54%. This finding was remarkably consistent across 25 of 31 European countries, including Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. These results persisted with adjustments for age, gender, immigrant status, household size, partnership status, number of children, child care, elder care, education, earner status, employment sector, workplace size, precarious employment status, and employment tenure. Employment insecurity was unrelated to sleep disturbance in four European countries: Malta, Poland, Portugal, and Romania. Our research reveals the human costs associated with working in neoliberal post-industrial economies. Our analyses extend the external validity of previous research by exploring the impact of employment insecurity across European countries.
1.4 Mai, Quan. Energetic Entrepreneurs or Failed Mercenaries: The Labor Market Consequences of Freelancing in the New Economy.” 2nd invitation to Revise and Resubmit
1.5 Mai, Quan. A contextual theory of unemployment scarring. Draft available