Opening futures: young people’s vulnerabilities and social cohesion policies

Due to the tremendous impact of the financial crisis on social structures, inequality has become a matter of heightened social concern. This has been manifest by diverse public reactions, particularly among young people whose level of social vulnerability has increased mainly due to unemployment growth and precarious work. This project will address one fundamental question: to what extent the increase in unemployment and precarious work will cause a rise in social vulnerability and a narrowing of life expectations among the young population? The project is intended to (a) characterize and compare the structural changes in terms of social inequalities within the different European countries, focusing specifically the rise in youth unemployment and precarious work; (b) take stock of the national and European legislation governing the labour market and social protection programs; (c) identify perceptions of the changes on the part of players left in vulnerable positions; (d) assess the effect of public policies, and design policies that help improve social cohesion. The research will use different methodological approaches: statistical comparative analysis of microdata from national and international databases, in-depth interviews, documental analysis of legislation and evaluation and prospection of public policies.

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