The CORRODE project is an extensive investigation into the socio-economic repercussions of unemployment. We concern ourselves with the consequences of unemployment in the economic domain, i.e. for loss of household income and deteriorating career prospects, but we also examine the consequences of unemployment for along broader dimensions of social life, e.g. for increasing risks of divorce and separation, for delayed family formation, for declining political and social participation, or also in terms of reduced access to educational opportunities for children in families where one or both parents is experiencing job loss. The project combines both in-depth studies of single country cases or small-N comparisons whenever the available survey data permits us to examine social and economic processes in great detail and broad, cross-nationally comparative work that involves data from 20-30 European and North American countries in order to shed light on contextual and institutional factors that might help to mitigate the adverse economic and social impact of unemployment.
The Financial Crisis and the ensuing Great Recession that has affected many Western economies since 2008 are providing the obvious motivation to study the repercussions of unemployment, and to do so in conjunction with what has been the worst economic downturn in at least a generation in many countries. To do so, we have harmonized and compiled a unique multilevel database for up to 30 countries that combines rich longitudinal microdata from representative household panel surveys and contextual information on macroeconomic conditions and policy environments at the regional and national level since the early 2000s. This database permits us to trace the life courses of several 100,000s of survey respondents over time periods that range from several years to more than a decade, so that we are able to observe their responses to unemployment, and also how such responses are varying across countries, over time, or also between population groups (e.g. by level of education or social class). We continuously update this database as new survey data becomes available, and we are also working hard to extend our database back to earlier historical periods for a smaller set of countries where suitable survey data exists.
Our empirical analyses of this data do indicate very clearly that unemployment is having significant negative impacts across the social and economic domains that we examine. In many instances, we even find that adverse effects are long-lasting and extend well beyond the original trigger event of unemployment. On the more positive side, we also find that proper institutional arrangements – that is, appropriate social, labor market or educational policy – may mitigate some of this adversity, and we also seek to identify other sources of resilience, for example at the household level. We invite you to learn more about our research through this website, and we welcome any comments and suggestions that you might have on our presentations or discussion papers.
Prof. Markus Gangl
Principal Investigator and Professor of Sociology, Goethe University Frankfurt