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Network, Unemployment and Employment Chances

International conference

Network, Unemployment and Employment Chances

Organized by:
BFNET (Beskæftigelsespolitisk forskningsnetværk)
Centre for Comparative Welfare Studies (CCWS)
Department of Economics, Politics and Public Administration of the Aalborg University

Aalborg University - Fibigerstræde 19220 Aalborg Ø - Denmark
Monday 29 October 2007



The traditional micro-economic perspectives on the transition from unemployment to employment are increasingly recognized as insufficient. A number of Scandinavian studies have shown that the link between short term economic incentives and transition to employment is modest at best. In particular, the connection between search activities and employment chances, which is crucial to search theory, seems surprisingly weak. The level of human capital is of greater importance but it is far from a sufficient explanation. The conference will discuss a third position; the importance of networks. It is well known that a large number of vacant job openings are filled through informal networks but we do not have much systematic knowledge about the implications for unemployed.
The conference brings together one of the leading international scholars in this field, Ted Mouw, and representatives from Scandinavian research environments which have conducted studies within this field. A special effort has been made to bring together researchers that respectively investigated search behaviour among unemployed and recruitment procedures among employers. As pointed out by Mark Granovetter it is imperative to see the labour market from both sides but it is seldom done in practical research.

The conference is also of practical relevance. Most active labour market policy has been understood within the framework of human capital and incentives. A central question has been how incentives and level of human capital can be improved. However, it might be of equal relevance to discuss how public policies can influence the character and the importance of informal networks. Therefore the conference will be an ideal place for researchers and individuals in administrative positions to debate the future of labour market policy.

Registration and practical details

There are a limited number of openings for the conference but we encourage all that might have interest in the topic to apply. Registration is required before October 9th by e-mail to [email protected]. Shortly after this date registrants will be informed about their participation.

There is no fee for the conference but participants must expect to cover their own travelling expenses. The conference will take place at Aalborg University, Denmark, and the precise location will be sent to all registrants when we know how many that will participate. Furthermore BPFNET will serve a free lunch for all participants under the conference.

We will be glad to answer any questions that you might have about the seminar. These should be e-mailed to [email protected].

Conference program

09.45 – 10.00     Coffee served by BPFNET

10.00 – 10.15     Welcome

10.15 – 11.15     Social Capital and Finding a Job, by Ted Mouw (University of North Carolina, USA)
Professor Ted Mouw presents his research on Social Mobility, Labor Markets and Working Poverty in the United States. Ted Mouw is one of the top international researchers on the importance of social capital and its importance in relation to the labour market. In the latest years he has contributed greatly to our understanding of this research area – e.g. through the article “Social Capital and Finding a Job: Do Contacts Matter?” that was published in the American Sociological Review in 2003.

11.15 – 11.45     Networks and Employment Chances in Denmark, by Christian A. Larsen (Aalborg University, Denmark)
Assistant professor Christian A. Larsen will present empirical evidence from a large research project financed by the Danish Ministry of Labour. The survey data allow us to study differences in network between various groups of unemployed and various groups of employed. The data also allow us to analyse the impact of networks on the transition from unemployment to employment.

11.45 – 12.00     Discussion and questions

12.00 – 13.00     Lunch served by BPFNET for all accepted participants

13.00 – 13.45     Employers’ Recruitment Behaviour, by Lars Behrenz (Växjö University, Sweden)
Employers’ recruitment strategies have a direct influence on which groups that get a job and which groups remain unemployed. Assistant professor Lars Behrenz will share his findings in relation to employers’ recruitment behaviour and at the same time give an overview of the international research in this area.

13.45 – 14.15     Companies’ Recruitment Practices in Denmark, by Jacob J. Pedersen (Aalborg University, Denmark)
PhD student Jacob J. Pedersen will present results from the so-called Disko4 survey among Danish companies. In this survey the companies are asked how they recruit new employees. By connecting these survey-data to Danish register data there is a unique possibility of differentiating between sectors, company size etc.
14.15 – 14.30     Coffee break

14.30 – 15.15     The Role of Labour Market Policy, by Ivan Harsløf (Oslo College, Norway)
Networks and recruitment processes play a role on the labour market – but is it possible to affect these processes through state structures and policies? On the basis of a comparative study of eight European countries, Ivan Harsløf will present his findings about the interaction between welfare state and the labour market. Can the consequences of inequality in social networks be counteracted by certain types of welfare states?

15.15 – 16.00     Panel discussion and questions

List of conference speakers, key publications and links to further information

Ted Mouw - University of North Carolina, USA (http://www.unc.edu/~tedmouw/)
- Mouw, Ted (2002): Are Black Workers Missing the Connection? The Effect of Spatial Distance and Employee Referrals on Interfirm Racial Segregation, Demography, vol. 39, nr. 3, pp. 507-528

- Mouw, Ted (2003): Social Capital and Finding a Job: Do Contacts Matter?. American Sociological Review, vol. 26, pp. 868-898.

- Mouw, Ted (2006): Estimating the Causal Effect of Social Capital: A Review of Recent Research, Annual Review of Sociology, vol. 32, pp. 79-102

Christian A. Larsen - Aalborg University, Denmark (http://personprofil.aau.dk/Profil/101645)
- Albrekt Larsen, Christian (2003): Økonomiske incitamenter, søgeadfærd og integration på arbejdsmarkedet, i Goul Andersen, Jørgen, Christian Albrekt Larsen og Jan Bendix Jensen: Marginaliseing og velfærdspolitik – Arbejdsløshed, jobchancen og trivsel, Frydenlund.

- Albrekt Larsen, Christian (2007): Network versus Economic Incentives: An economic sociological account of the transition from unemployment to employment, paper presented at Annual ESPAnet Conference, September 20-22, Vienna, Austria.
Link: http://www2.wu-wien.ac.at/espanet2007/19_Larsen_Albrekt.pdf

Lars Behrenz, Växjö University, Sweden (http://www.vxu.se/ehv/kontakt/hem/lbehrenz/)
- Behrenz, Lars (1998): Essays on the Employment Service and Employers' Recruitment Behaviour. Lund Economic Studies 79. Doktorsavhandling.

- Behrenz, Lars (2001): Who Gets the Jobs and Why? An Explorative Study of Employers' Recruitment Behavior, Journal of Applied Economics, vol. 0. pp. 255-278.

Jacob J. Pedersen, Aalborg University, Denmark (http://personprofil.aau.dk/Profil/106872)
- Pedersen, Jacob Jepsen (2007): Sociale mekanismer, der bringer folk i arbejde – eller forhindrer det (submitted but not yet published)

Ivan Harsløf, Oslo College, Norway (http://www.hio.no/content/view/full/46908)
- Harsløf, Ivan (2006): The Impact of Welfare and Labour Market Institutions on Informal Recruitment in European Youth Labour Markets, European Societies, vol.8, nr. 4, pp. 555-576.


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