The salience of the part-time divide in the European Union

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This paper assesses the salience of the distinction between full-time and part-time work for the cross-national analysis of divisions within the female labour force. Occupational, household, and attitudinal data from the European Union labour-force survey are used to consider the similarity and difference between member states in the extent and form of part-time work and in the supply of labour for part-time work. Part-timers are found to be more segregated than full-timers in every country, even though there are important country differences in the character of these jobs and workers across European labour markets. The conclusion is that the part-time-full-time divide is an important variable which captures a polarization in the experience of employment between different groups of women. However, the nature of the 'part-time divide' within the female labour force and the incidence of part-time work varies across countries and over time. Therefore, comparative research cannot simply focus upon full-timers if it is to develop an adequate interpretation of trends in segregation and the labour-market outcomes for women. Instead comparisons must separate full-timers from part-timers, but analyse them together.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-250
Number of pages23
JournalEuropean Sociological Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1996


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