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Un enseignement démocratique de masse

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Marianne Frenay
, 
Xavier Dumay

Unequal Access to Employment, Unequal Capabilities

French School-Leavers’ Trajectories in Perspective

Nicolas Farvaque

Texte intégral

Introduction

1Access to employment is a dynamical process. The extent of freedom of choice and opportunity sets people have is crucial in this process. Going from school to work indeed is a matter of having opportunities and of making choices. But this process is also constrained by existing structures and by other people’s choices in the labour market. Being able to get a job is not an individual search issue only: it involves recruiters’ forms of judgement on the candidate’s qualities, and larger constraining structures, such as gender or racial discrimination. Going beyond a model of individual calculus and incorporating such factors are thus a necessity for the realism of description.

2In this paper we wish to analyse the process of inclusion into the labour market, for a group of young entrants with low qualifications, in such a perspective aiming at stressing their choice opportunities against a standard of capability.

  • 1 See the debate between Pattanaik and Xu (1990) and Sen (1990, 1991, 2002a).
  • 2 For a more complete view of what capability for work entails, see Bonvin and Farvaque (2005). It pa (...)

3How to evaluate choice opportunities? The bigger the opportunity set, the bigger the freedom of choice, one might say. However, such a cardinal approach to the measurement of opportunity sets might conflict with a more substantial approach, aiming at assessing the real content of these opportunities1. In ones opportunity set (or, more precisely, the subset related to ones position with regard to the labour market), one might have two firm job proposals when someone else has twice the number. Nevertheless, it is necessary to take attention to the content of these opportunities: hence it can be the case that the former persons freedom, in our example, can be quite larger than the latter one though with fewer opportunities from a cardinal point of view. To illustrate with a very simple case, just compare a first opportunity set made of two opportunities – {a well-paid stimulating job; a ever-dreamt-of activity in the artistic sector} – with a second one made of four opportunities – {a crap job; a low-quality job; a 500-km-from-home offer; a humiliating sandwich-man position}. Opportunity is, at the outset, a matter of what people might have reason to value. Therefore, real freedom is, by opposition to formal freedom, a function of having a real valuable options set, in which people are effectively free to make genuine choices. This first lesson of the capability approach is quite illuminating when analysing the route towards inclusion. In correlation is the forceful caveat that the possibility to make a genuine choice is a capability which people may often lack – especially young people with low experience and low qualification, as in our application –, and something on which public institutions might act upon. As a result, in this interpretation of public action under the normative framework of the capability approach, enabling institutions should enhance peoples real freedom through a multi-levelled action on their opportunity set, this one being assessed in function, on the one hand, of the quality of its elements and in function of what people have reason to value, and, on the other, of their ability to make genuine choices among these opportunities. Capability for work is linked to these enabling conditions2.

4We hereby attempt to operationalise Sen’s capability approach with regard to the dynamics of inclusion into employment – to be more precise, we attempt to submit one operationalisation of this approach. The motivation is to shift away from the standard assumptions of labour economics. Rather than considering the search period from the viewpoint of calculus among different options, the capability approach demands that it be analysed from the viewpoint of real freedom people have to choose such or such option. This makes a radical change, as we have suggested elsewhere (Bonvin, Farvaque, 2005; Farvaque, Robeyns, 2005). However, in face of the fine-grained discipline of labour economics, our proposition will rapidly appear under developed. Hence this contribution is to be seen as a modest and exploratory tentative to underline the alternative potential of the capability approach to assess people’s transitions in the labour market, but it definitely calls for further research.

5The paper runs as follows. In the next part, we present what gives the capability approach (CA) an alternative potential to study people’s opportunities, freedom of choice and constraints in relation with access to employment.Wegoontodevelop thenotionof” capability forwork” in conjunction with a survey of previous operationalisations of Sen’s work with regard to the labour market. The third part presents the data which have served for constructing ”typical” trajectories of low-qualified young entrants into the French labour market. The fourth part evidences differentiated patterns of access to employment and stresses the importance of some ”conversion factors”. We focus on individual conversion factors, such as experience and qualification, but above all on social factors, such as gender, geography and belonging to the immigrants’ group. The fifth part shows the differentials in achievements for these youngsters, considering employment functionings and non-employment functionings as well (health, social relations, residential autonomy, etc.). The sixth part tries to evaluate some noticeable events in the young people’s trajectories at the light of the capability approach: the capability to obtain an interview with a potential recruiter after having replied to a job offer, and the fact of having refused one job offer at least during the trajectory, which can be retrospectively assessed as the exercise of a certain freedom of choice. We will see that, in the absence of additional information on the real capacity to make genuine and informed choices, this event hardly captures individual capabilities. The seventh section concludes.

1. Choice, Constraints, Opportunities, and Capability for Work3

  • 3 This section draws heavily on Bonvin and Farvaque (2005).

6One of Sen’s main contributions has been to insist on the methodology of description in economics (see Sen, 1980, 1989). To make a description ultimately boils down to make a choice, with its part of implicitness. Any description of individual states or of social arrangements relies first on the selection, implicit or explicit, of an ”informational basis of judgement in justice”, which delimitates the type of information to be incorporated in the assessment (see Sen, 1990). From a critical point of view, the notion of informational basis can be used as a device to show the descriptive limits and the ethical limits of standard approaches to evaluation. From a normative point of view, the ”capability” alternative has to be assessed at the light of the real differences it provides with for description. We have tried to analyse the relevance of the CA as an alternative framework for critical assessment of public structures in the field of social integration policies, as well as a framework for action and reform when such structures appear unjust (Bonvin, Farvaque, 2005). Here the aim is to use this framework to assess people’s trajectories on the labour market from a renewed descriptive contention: as we said, to describe people’s evolving situations at the light of their freedom of choice and opportunity sets, rather than at the light of their monetary achievements only, which is generally supposed to be revealing, under some standard assumptions, their rational search behaviour.

7Sen’s framework has inspired many people in academic audiences as well as in activist or political spheres (Robeyns, 2000). The relevance of the CA, which first emerged as an alternative approach for the study of poverty in developing countries, has been aptly underlined for developed economies as well (Robeyns, 2002; Balestrino, 1996; Oughton and Wheelock, 2003; Salais, 2005, Dean et al. 2005, etc.). The perspective of ”development as freedom” (Sen, 1999), which aims at enhancing people’s real freedoms through public action, should equally apply to developed countries, as is evidenced by the high levels of unemployment, poverty and social exclusion experienced by rich countries, in particular in Europe (Solow, 1995; Sen, 1997a, 1997b; Stiglitz, 2002). Many studies have developed this capability or ”freedom” perspective with regard to the situation of the poorest in rich countries, highlighting what a capability framework would entail. In particular, some of them have emphasised the alternative cognitive potential of the CA in the field of work and social policies. CA-inspired works have permitted to analyse social exclusion and poverty with a renewed basis of judgement, leading to alternative ways of identifying the poor and the excluded (Schokkaert and Van Ootegem, 1990; Balestrino, 1994, 1996; Le Clainche, 1994; Klasen 2000; Brandolini and D’Alessio, 1998; Chiappero-Martinetti, 1996, 2000; Vero, 2002 among others). These studies showed that a significant proportion of poor people in terms of capabilities are not being helped by public institutions, for they do not appear in official income-based accountings.

8Similar observations concerning the labour market show that standard measures of unemployment, i.e. based on standard ”informational bases of judgement in justice” may result totally blind to the limitations faced by jobseekers. By contrast, a pool of CA-inspired studies have identified the constraints (Burchardt, 2002; Burchardt and Le Grand, 2002, Brandolini and

9D’Alessio, 1998), unfreedoms (Schokkaert and Van Ootegem, 1990; Le Clainche, 1994) or ”penalties” (Sen, 1997a, 1997b) jobless people suffer in different parts of Europe. As Tania Burchardt (2002) has shown for contemporary Britain, nearly three-quarters of women who are not in paid employment lack ”employment capability”, i.e. face severe constraints vis-à-vis employment opportunities. The very problem is that, according to Burchardt, only one out of three unemployed women are picked up in official unemployment statistics. When public action relies on such a standard measure, then a large majority of ”capability-missing” persons are not considered as relevant targets. Burchardt’s method proved relevant in order to separate out voluntary and involuntary non-employment. She relied on people’s preferences (as they answered subjective questions about their position vis-à-vis employment) and on some sort of an objectivation of their effective situation compared with people belonging to the same social group, with regard to variables outside the scope of individual responsibility (sex, age, etc.). The methodology used eventually permits to distinguish among the non-employed the people who miss the capability to be employed, and the one who are capable to work, but chose not to.

10A common perspective underlying this bunch of studies, even if not put in that words by the authors, is that capability for work is not a matter of individual competence only. It includes social opportunities and social factors as well. Individual potential or assets are insufficient internal resources to obtain a valuable job. Paraphrasing Sen, capability for work is ”the real free-dom to choose the work one has reason to value”. As we argued elsewhere, this by no way implies the disappearance of all constraints. On the contrary, it recognises that the opportunity set is necessarily limited and constraining, but it advocates a fair and negotiated construction of this constraint. For instance, the existence of a valuable exit option, i.e. decent unemployment benefits, is the very foundation of the capacity to negotiate the constraints connected to work, rather than accept the conditions imposed by the employer (see more in Bonvin and Farvaque, 2005). However, not all constraints are negotiated in this manner. People, whatever their talents, should positively convert them equally into capability to choose. One has to recognise this is not always the case, despite formal rights enacted by institutions: for instance, it is claimed that the same work should be rewarded the same, whatever the sex of the worker, or again that two candidates with the same qualifications and motivation should be offered the same opportunities to get a job, whatever their skin colour. Taken at prima facie, these protections should enhance people’s capability to work, but in practice they are not effectively enforced enough to prevent discrimination mechanisms to occur.

  • 4 This connects with Sens vision on education, which is a compulsory activity for education and thus(...)
  • 5 Examples are numerous. We have in mind the case of a third-sector enterprise located in Geneva wher (...)

11The notion of capability for work thus interrogates the legitimacy of constraints on choice and tries to assess their effectiveness. The effects of social policies should be evaluated this way. For instance, workfare policies, that expressly try to reduce the scope of opportunities by reducing people’s entitlements to an exit option (unemployment benefits), are to be evaluated from this perspective. The question, then, would be: is this constraint on individual choice legitimate, and are its effects positive in terms of living conditions, for now and the future4? Capability for work is obviously a freedombased notion, which is directly concerned with the process and opportunity aspects of freedom (Sen, 1999, 2002). When assessing public action, one should then particularly focus on both the process through which it occurs, and the substantive opportunities it offers. Harsh welfare-to-work programmes constraining people to accept any job, e.g. non-valuable activities with neither exit nor voice perspective, are thus condemnable from that standpoint5.

2. The Data

12People’s trajectories have sometimes been studied against the capability approach. The focus was put on the impact of public action on deprived people, and therefore these studies emphasised the capacity to change one’s life (see Alkire 2002 or Nussbaum 2000). Some conference papers have addressed the time aspect in the capability approach, and included the ”becomings” in the foundational elements of a good life, alongside the ”doings” and ”beings” people might also treasure (Comim, 2003; Thelen 2004).

13Here we propose a longitudinal methodology, frequently used in socioeconomic studies on employment and social inclusion. Our contention is to assess people’s capabilities and functionings with regard to the path they have followed. We separate out two types of variables:

  • On the one hand, we have selected the variables that characterise young school-leavers at the time of their entrance into the labour market. Some of these variables lie outside the scope of individual responsibility (e.g., sex, age, etc.), and other represent their educational achievement, that is, their level of qualification as defined by a diploma or certification.

  • On the other hand are all the situations that they have experienced in the labour market, and information about the search methods as well as about their subjective satisfaction. In particular, there are some information about people’s choice opportunities: for instance, to occupy a job or to stay at the parental home by choice or by necessity.

  • 6 The CEREQ has published an exhaustive exploration of this panel which inspired us much (see Giret e (...)
  • 7 To be precise, we had two files at our disposition: thefirst oneincluding the scheduleof all the si (...)

14The data provide from a 5-year panel realised between 1996 and 2000 by the French ”Centre d’études et de recherche sur les qualifications” (CEREQ)6. They concern young people who have left the school system during the year 1993-94, and whose achieved level is equal or inferior to the ”baccalauréat”, which is the principal diploma at the end of secondary schooling, and before undergraduate studies. The sample includes 3,500 individuals. They have retrospectively provided information about their situation on the labour market from October 1993 to February 2000. Due to the bad quality of the last wave of the panel, the longitudinal analysis will not use some individual data for the last period7. We worked on a sub-sample of 1,707 individuals who gave complete information for the whole duration. The proportion of girls is quite low, at 43%. After weighting, the panel is apt to represent the 320,000 young school-leavers in France during 1993-94.

15These information and data were first studied by Vero (2002) in an inventive yet static operationalisation of the capability framework with regard the multidimensionality of poverty among youngsters. Our work here tries to go beyond this static approach, and will restrict itself to the sole issue of access to employment (where Vero used to analyse non-chosen non-employment as one of the many sources of poverty, in addition to other forms of social deprivation).

16We begin by giving some descriptive information about the people in the panel.

2.1. Young women with higher diplomas than young men

  • 8 This V level can be certificated (diplômé) or not (non diplômé).

17The panel only includes low-qualified young school-leavers. The French system of diplomas is usually retranscripted in broader categories or levels”, from I to VI. The youngsters here either have a IV level (i.e. have passed the baccalauréat or have a similar level of school attainment even though without the diploma), which is the higher level here, or a V level (i.e. have followed a vocational training, or have left the system before the baccalauréat)8, ora VI-Vbis level (i.e. have left before the first vocational degree). This is then a sample of young people with low or no qualification.

  • 9 Tables are reported at the end of the paper, with additional descriptive information.

18Our 1,707-people sub-sample is essentially constituted of school-leavers aged between 16 and 21 years. Almost three out of ten are in the higher diploma level, and almost the same proportion in the worst, as Table 1 indicates9. This table also shows that girls clearly possess better educational levels and certifications that boys, and are underrepresented in the lowest level.

TABLE 1. LEVEL OF QUALIFICATION (%)

TABLE 1. LEVEL OF QUALIFICATION (%)

19IV level is achieved by those who have passed the ”baccalauréat”, and is the better level here. V level is achieved by those who have followed a vocational training, or have left the system before the baccalauréat, and can be certificated or not. VI-Vbis level is achieved by those who have left before the first vocational degree.

2062% of the fathers and 66% of mothers have left school before going to secondary school (”lycée”). Only 5% of fathers and 4% of mothers had had the opportunity to study at the university.

2.2. Access to employment and characteristics of jobs

21The proportion of people occupying a job steadily increases, to nearly reach a 80% level in 2000. Only 1% of the youngsters has never experienced any job situation during the period. But nearly 40% of them have never experienced any permanent contract as well. For those who have managed to obtain such a permanent contract, the mean duration is more than 42 months. More than one job out of two are blue-collar ones, which mainly attract males.

2.3. Unemployment spells

22The average duration of one unemployment spell is 11.3 months for all the young people. But while it is 9.3 months for young males, it is 13.6 months for young females. The level of qualification also discriminates: for the better qualified have the average period is 9.3 months, and 13.2 for the lowest qualified.

23The average duration of the total amount of unemployment spells over the total period is 22.4 months. For girls it is 26.3 months, against 19 months for boys. 25% of the youngsters have spent at least six months in unemployment.

2.4. Wages and job satisfaction

24The mean wage is about 706 euros per month, when taking into account all the job situations surveyed in the database. On average however, young women’s wages are 18% inferior to those of young men. Moreover, the difference between male and female median wages almost amounts to 200 euros. Differences also exist according to qualifications.

25A noticeable fact is that, when still considering all the job situations surveyed in the panel, one quarter of employed people are undertaking steps to find another job. Among them is a majority of girls (52%), while they only represent 43% of the total population. The main reason for this is the coming term of the labour contract. In effect, a vast majority (55.6%) of all these job situations are precarious (when excluding permanent contracts – 26.8% – and apprenticeship – 17.4%). Wage insufficiency or the search of a full-time job are also important motivations. With regard to this latter point, it is also noticeable that only 60% of young women, against 87% of young men, do work part-time, while in no case do they express a higher preference with regard part-time vs. full-time. This indicates another form of gendered constraint, in addition to the differences in vocational achievements.

3. Unequal Trajectories

26The database permits longitudinal analyses of individual situations in the labour market, which enable going beyond simple and static studies of employment or unemployment spells.

27We have identified six ”typical trajectories” which offer, from a descriptive standpoint, a rich overview of the variety of school-to-work main types of transitions. Compared with the standard methods of description of individual situations in the labour market, which most of the time rely upon mean and average indicators (as the ones we just used above), the typical trajectory approach offers a descriptive enrichment. The interest of this alternative lies in its individualistic and longitudinal approach, apt to assess people’s evolutions in a context of a penury of employment (Béduwé, Dauty, 1997: 152). The diversity of trajectories, despite a common educational plateau (low or no qualifications), can be explained by individual factors or social factors. The difficulty is to get enough information to separate out these possible causalities. The most often, the data in our possession and the technique used will not be sufficient to impute the belonging to a particular trajectory to personal efforts or talents, or to circumstances. However, following a capability perspective, we will try in the remainder to see to what extent people have been able to convert their educational resources and efforts during the search period into capabilities and functionings. Doing so, we will put a special attention on the diversity of factors of conversion, which may enhance or reduce people’s capabilities, and when the assessment is negative, try to examine the social nature of the constraints.

  • 10 For more information on these categories, see the French first version of this text (Farvaque, Oliv (...)

28Individual situations on the labour market can be ranked in nine categories10: publicly-trained inclusion programmes; apprenticeship; fixed-term labour contracts; permanent labour contracts; unemployment; training; inactivity; national service.

29Using these categories and the information on people’s position vis-à-vis the labour market at any time for our 1,707-people sub-sample (their trajectories are represented in Graph 1), the goal of the typical trajectory approach is to group together individual trajectories in function of their closeness and distance: two young people were considered to have close trajectories when they experienced the same situations at the same time; conversely, their trajectories were considered remote when the number of months when their situations differed was important. On this basis, six typical trajectories were evidenced.

GRAPH. 1. FORMS OF TRAJECTORIES (ALL YOUNG PEOPLE IN THE SAMPLE)

GRAPH. 1. FORMS OF TRAJECTORIES (ALL YOUNG PEOPLE IN THE SAMPLE)

GRAPH. 2. SIX TYPICAL TRAJECTORIES

GRAPH. 2. SIX TYPICAL TRAJECTORIES

Trajectory 1: Delayed stabilisation in permanent employment via fixed-term contract (18.48% of the sample)

30The first class of trajectories gather almost one young out of five, whose access to permanent employment happens after a series of periods in fixedterm contracts. It includes 62.80% of males, and 43% of IV-level diploma holders. 90% of the subgroup is in permanent employment in 2000, and unemployment steadily decreases.

Trajectory 2: Immediate, lasting access to permanent employment (13.42%)

31This (minor) subgroup is the one who has experienced the fastest and more sustainable access to employment. It concerns 56.5% of young men, and a majority of IV-levels (46%).

Trajectory 3: Chaotic pathways between unemployment, public programmes, and employment (18.32%)

32Pathways are defined as chaotic here for they mix a large variety of unstable position but few sustainable transitions towards employment. Professional experience is growing up but principally on fixed-term contracts. Compared to other typical trajectories, inactivity is very important here, and return to training as well. A lot of the young people remain in public programmes that do not offer job opportunity. A majority of women is concerned (52%), and 27% of youngsters with the lowest level of qualification.

Trajectory 4: Stabilisation in fixed-term contracts (15.94%)

33This more than average male subgroup (65%) succeed in finding their way through a succession of fixed-term contracts, mainly in non-qualified blue-collar jobs. If unemployment is left behind, sustainable employment remains hard to reach however, unless this succession of short activities is voluntary, which we cannot know with the data, but what we can also be quite sceptical about.

Trajectory 5: Access to employment after apprenticeship (22.26%)

34This trajectory is typical of youngsters, most of whom males (73%) and with the lowest or no qualification degrees (65%), who decided to return to train themselves through vocational apprenticeship. In 2000, two third are in employment, including 46% with a permanent contract.

Trajectory 6: Persistent unemployment (11.59%)

35For less than 12% of the sample, this trajectory is the one of social exclusion. Persistent unemployment, falling out of flexible employment and lasting periods in public schemes are the main characteristics of this deprived population. Three people out of four are young women, which indicates a gendered inequality of utmost significance. This population, moreover, is not particularly less trained than the others.

36They range from rapid or delayed but secure pathways to steady employment (Trajectories 1, 2 and 5) to chaotic processes of inclusion (Trajectory 3) and even routes towards social exclusion characterised by high rates of longterm unemployment (Trajectory 6). The last type of inclusion is marked by a succession of fixed-term contracts (Trajectory 4), which can result either from a preference for instability, or from stronger constraints on the capacity to find a more secure job.

37A multinomial Logit model has been used to explain the belonging to a particular typical trajectory. Table 3 shows that the probability to belong to the exclusion trajectory (n° 6), taking the fast inclusion trajectory (n° 2) as a reference, is 5 times bigger for women than for men. The probability to follow a chaotic trajectory (n° 3) is 1.72 times higher for women as well. Being a female thus increases the probability to experience vocational instability and insecurity. The level of qualification has a positive role – just see the very important probability for those of the lowest level (VI-Vbis) to belong to the ”worst” trajectories (n°3 and 6).

TABLE 2. BELONGING TO A TRAJECTORY: A MULTINOMIAL LOGIT MODEL

TABLE 2. BELONGING TO A TRAJECTORY: A MULTINOMIAL LOGIT MODEL

Note: odds-ratios represent the ratio between the probability to belong to trajectory j and the probability to belong to the trajectory taken as reference. In bold are those significant with p-value <1%. With a star* those significant with p-value <5%.

  • 11 Province stands for all France except the Parisian area

Note11

  • 12 Unique children have a probability 57% times lower than children with 2 sisters or brothers to belo (...)

38Unfortunately, the data are poor with regard to geographical residence.Only do we know whether the young people are born in the dynamic, crowded and heterogeneous Parisian area, or in the rest of the country. This does not say nothing about the actual place where people live, neither about the opportunities provided by the local labour market. We can note that the Parisian youngsters have better trajectories than the other ones, but this does not provide a rich information in the absence of additional assumptions. This is highly regrettable, for local labour market conditions may deeply influence people’s capabilities. People who come from large families (three children or more) have a lower probability to belong to the trajectory of reference (n° 2)12. Having had short work experiences while being at school has positive effects.

4. Unequal Trajectories, Unequal Functionings

  • 13 We will come back to this theoretical and semantic distinction between functionings and capabilitie (...)
  • 14 An exception being the seminal paper by Schokkaert and Van Ootegem, who used answers to retrospecti (...)

39Does the belonging to a particular trajectory of access to employment impact on peoples functionings? The underlying assumption is that the young people who experiment unstable and insecure trajectories, with a succession of unemployment spells, public programmes and short employment durations, have lower levels of achievements of functionings as well. This and the reverse assumption – the closer to secure employment the trajectory, the more important the functionings – are put to test here. This follows the previous works by Erik Schokkaert and Luc Van Ootegem (1990) on a panel of Belgian unemployed, by Christine Le Clainche (1994) who applied the later authors method to a panel of French recipients of social help, or by Alessandro Balestrino (1996) on a similar group of Italian beneficiaries of social welfare. They all showed that social deprivation is better described when using a multidimensional functionings basis rather than a monetary approach. These works have emphasised to what extent the difficulties and deprivations experimented by these people went beyond the loss of resources, which can be measured as functionings failure, some of them being close to capability failure13. Nevertheless, these works, and as we said the vast majority of the studies attempting to operationalise the CA, remain static descriptions with little incorporation of dynamic and temporal concerns14. Asthe following results show, however, individual trajectories have a strong influence on peoples situation at a particular date, analysed in terms of functionings.

40Functionings are doings and beings, and are the ”primitive notion” in Sen’s alternative framework to utilitarianism (Sen, 1993: 31). To describe and analyse one’s standard of living and well-being, one should focus on one’s functionings, rather than on one’s resources or utility. However, a further step is needed, which is the taking into account of one’s capability to function. Two individuals can achieve the same functionings (e.g., being employed part-time), while for the former it is the result of a genuine choice and of a preference for leisure and non-paid activities, whereas for the latter it will be due to an absence of choice and to highly constraining factors (the only type of work that is available in certain sectors – e.g. catering industry – or compatible with domestic duties). The distinction between functionings and re-sources or utility, on the one hand, and between functionings and capability, on the other, therefore provides an analytical apparatus with realistic force.

  • 15 We do not consider in this paper a functioning studied in the first version of the text, namely to (...)
  • 16 As we said above, data for the fifth wave of the panel are insufficiently filled.

41We choose now to concentrate on three particular social achievements, being given the data available: to have ones own housing; to be mobile; to have leisure and social relations15. We consider the level of these functionings at the wage 4 of our panel16, i.e. we analyse the influence of the trajectory up to that date on individual functionings. Our list of functionings only has an illustrative claim, but certainly cannot be considered as exhaustive of ones well-being. This minimal list nevertheless permits to emphasise the role of the work-related trajectory on inequalities in achievements.

4.1. Residential independence

42The period of transition from school to work is also a period of transition from the parental household to residential independence. The impact of the former phenomena (access to employment) on the latter (access to independence) has been studied in the French case by Dormont and Dufour-Kippelen (2000), who assumed that job precarity, not only unemployment, tend to keep young people at parental home. This form of independence is also a crux in the process of becoming an autonomous adult.

43The part of young ”independents” (this word to designate the young people with their own housing) at time t is progressively increasing, with sound differences between males and females, so that in the end only one young man out of three is independent, compared to more than three young women out of five (Table 3).

TABLE 3. PROPORTION OF YOUNG INDEPENDENTS VIS-À-VIS HOUSING ACCORDING TO SEX (%)

TABLE 3. PROPORTION OF YOUNG INDEPENDENTS VIS-À-VIS HOUSING ACCORDING TO SEX (%)

44This variable seems to depend on the typical trajectories as well, as Table 4 indicates. In addition, Table 5 shows the result of a Logit model which evaluates the impact of age, sex, qualification and the trajectory on being independent. It results that women’s probability to be independent is more than three times higher than that of men. The probability is the higher for those belonging to the trajectory of reference (n° 2) and then those of trajectory n° 1. By contrast, those belonging to the exclusion pathway (n° 6) have a probability inferior to those of n°2 of 54%.

TABLE 4. ACCESS TO HOUSING INDEPENDENCE (AT WAVE =4) ACCORDING TO THE TRAJECTORY (%)

TABLE 4. ACCESS TO HOUSING INDEPENDENCE (AT WAVE =4) ACCORDING TO THE TRAJECTORY (%)

TABLE 5. ACCESS TO HOUSING INDEPENDENCE (AT WAVE = 4). ESTIMATES OF THE LOGIT MODEL

TABLE 5. ACCESS TO HOUSING INDEPENDENCE (AT WAVE = 4). ESTIMATES OF THE LOGIT MODEL

Note: odds-ratios represent the ratio between the probability to be independent and the probability not to be independent. In bold are those significant with p-value <1% (here the case for all odds-ratios).

45Satisfaction with one’s housing (including all types, from being independent to staying at home) is quite important, for 90% of the young people say they are OK with it. Among those who are disappointed with their housing is a majority of women and a lot of young ”independents”. Table 6 shows that this subjective variable (to be satisfied with one’s housing, be it an inde-pendent one or not) is 15% higher for men than for women, the latter however being more often, as we said, independent. Taking the exclusion trajectory (n° 6) as the reference, one can see that all the other paths of inclusion lead to higher levels of satisfaction (up to 2.27 times more for those of trajectory n° 2).

TABLE 6. TO BE SATISFIED WITH ONES HOUSING.ESTIMATES OF THE LOGIT MODEL

TABLE 6. TO BE SATISFIED WITH ONE’S HOUSING.ESTIMATES OF THE LOGIT MODEL

Note: odds-ratios represent the ratio between the probability to be satisfied with one’s housing and the opposite probability. In bold are those significant with p-value < 1% (here thecasefor allodds-ratios).

4.2. Being mobile

  • 17 To take a different example to the one classically used by Sen, opposing a disabled person with ano (...)

46Being mobile is another important factor of individual autonomy. In Sens framework, one should be cautious with the words used, for being mobile – basically, a functioning – is also a source of freedom – freedom to move around –, but ultimately boils down to the owning of, or the capacity to pay for, transportation commodities, so to say. There is nevertheless a crucial distinction between having a car or a bike or public transports in ones area and, on the one hand, having the capability to move around – one basic freedom according to Sen, and, on the other, achieving the functioning in question. Two distinct persons who possess a car do not have necessarily the same capability to use it, if for instance price of oil is significantly different from one area to another (which boils down to an inequality in their entitlements, with repercussions on their capability). They do not have as well necessarily the same capability to use public transport if one of them is constrained to work by night (at a time when public transports do not function) while the other is not17.

47We use here the variable ”having a motorised vehicle” (car, motorcycle, and so on) at wave 4 as a rather imperfect resourcist proxy of this capability. We are conscious that doing so eludes important information on, justly, the individuals’ real freedom to make use of it, or the availability of other modes of transport, in addition to the lack of detailed geographical information (see above). This entails being very prudent with interpretations. Nevertheless there is a direct link between the possession of a motorised vehicle and the typical trajectories. As Table 7 indicates, about nine young people out of ten (and sometimes more) who followed any trajectory except the ”chaotic” one (n° 3) and the ”exclusion” one (n° 6) do possess such a vehicle.

TABLE 7. OWNING A MOTORISED VEHICLE AT WAVE = 4

TABLE 7. OWNING A MOTORISED VEHICLE AT WAVE = 4

48Those of trajectory n° 3 are more than seven out of ten, which is still an important ratio. By contrast, less than one out of two youngsters from the exclusion path are equipped with a vehicle. Table8takesintoaccountthe effect of sex, age, residential independence and the level of qualification, and confirms the close link between the trajectory and the possession of this commodity. Individuals of trajectory 3 let aside, all the other ones have at least five times more probability to be mobile at wave 4 than those of trajectory 6. Unemployment paths entail additional penalties in that respect, and the results seem to pinpoint possible vicious circles between this capability to move and the capability to work.

TABLE 8. OWNING A MOTORISED VEHICLE AT WAVE =4.ESTIMATES OF THE LOGIT MODEL

TABLE 8. OWNING A MOTORISED VEHICLE AT WAVE =4.ESTIMATES OF THE LOGIT MODEL

Note: odds-ratios represent the ratio between the probability to own a motorised vehicle and the opposite probability. In bold are those significant with p-value < 1% (here the case for all odds-ratios).

4.3. Social relations and participation to the life of the community

  • 18 This phenomenon of isolation and this feeling of being in a corner of the society are clearly evide (...)

49A third category of functionings that matter for young people’s standard of living is social relations and the participation to the life of the community. We evaluate these functionings through three variables: the frequency of ”trips/nights out” (”sorties”), the frequency of holidays, and the participation to associations. A simple indicator has been constructed by a rough method of scoring. For the former two variables, each of the four modalities of answer was ranked between 0 and 3 (with 3 attributed to ”very often” and 0 for ”never”). Being an active member of an association ranks 2 and 0 otherwise. Scoring these values gives us as a result a plain number between 0 and 8. This value is significantly different with regard to the trajectories, as Graph 3 indicates, with trajectories n° 3 and 6 being the only ones under the mean. This seems to show, once more, the more important deprivation with respect to an important functioning of the youngsters taken in unemployment paths. This can indicate bigger isolation and sense of isolation, but we lack additional subjective information to go further18.

GRAPH 3. SOCIAL RELATIONS ACCORDING TO THE TRAJECTORIES

GRAPH 3. SOCIAL RELATIONS ACCORDING TO THE TRAJECTORIES

Note: the number in y is the value of our indicator of participation

5. Choices, Constraints and Opportunities: Unequal Trajectories, Unequal Capabilities

50As said above, to take into account the extent of individual freedom with regard to one’s position on the labour market would obviously lead us well beyond the work done here. It seems that the capability/functioning framework used in this paper enables us to pinpoint some noticeable deprivations and/or disparities in terms of freedom for some individuals gathered in function of typical trajectories, rather than finely measuring and comparing individual’s extent of real freedom.

  • 19 Plus financial autonomy which is not reproduced here. See the paper in French.

51So far, the methodology has relied upon data interpretable as functionings (being independent, having social relations, being mobile, with caveats for this latter one as we mentioned, etc.). The descriptive and statistical analysis of the different typical trajectories, though relying on such functionings data and individual ones (sex, age, etc.), has however been apt to give an idea of very different margins of freedoms, according to the belonging to one trajectory or another. Belonging to such or such trajectory goes with an unequal access to valuable functionings, which most of the time appear as conditions of autonomy: mobility, social relations, independence, and so on19.

  • 20 There are, in fact, two alternative ways of proceeding from here. One is to look at opportunities (...)

52We try in the rest of the paper to put the emphasis on other types of data, reflecting capabilities or, at least, refined functionings. An information renamed refined functioning is about a particular achievement that has the particularity to indicate a sphere of freedom. For instance, to work part-time is a functioning, while to work part-time by choice or by constraint is a refined functioning. Data are sometimes able to make this distinction, and thus to inform on peoples extent of freedom to a certain extent. The same idea – to use functionings data that might inform on peoples process of making choices – sometimes relies on what Sen names the assessment of comprehensive outcomes”, a close cousin for refined functionings20. According to Sen and different scholars involved in the operationalisation of the CA, the refined functioning approach seems the most promising one, keeping the emphasis on peoples capabilities, but using and interpreting data on functionings, being given the quixotic and impossible search of a pure measurement of ones unlimited counterfactuals.

53Massive inequalities appear when we look at two particular events – the fact of obtaining a job interview, and the fact to have refused at least one job during the five-year path studied here. These ”refined functionings” data can clearly be interpreted in a capability framework, when questioning on the one hand the capability that persons have to convert their search efforts into opportunities (6.1.), and on the other their capability not to accept any proposition (6.2.).

5.1. Obtaining a job interview: efforts, constraints and opportunities

5.1.1 Search behaviour: girls have lower expectations

54We consider here all the situations of unemployment included in the panel (which means that one person can appear several times in these figures). Data indicate that the main search methods are unsolicited application and the use of the public employment service, followed by advertisements and interim agencies. Having a CV is a condition most often achieved by women than men, at any moment. Similarly, it grows with the level of qualification. Among those who have a CV, more than 90% of them made use of it at least once.

55The young unemployed people declare being ready to accept any type of job at very high rates (table 9).

TABLE 9. YOUNG UNEMPLOYED’S DEMANDS VIS-À-VIS TYPES OF JOB

TABLE 9. YOUNG UNEMPLOYED’S DEMANDS VIS-À-VIS TYPES OF JOB

56Finding a work appears a matter of urgency in the first years, and as a result expectations are not very regarding and hard to please. In 1996 more than nine young people out of ten say they would accept a part-time job. Expectations are rising up with time, but nevertheless stay at low levels: four young people out of five are ready for any kind of job in 1996; they still are two out of three in 1999. More important is the number of those who declare their being ready for jobs with no link with their training.

57It is noteworthy that girls have lower expectations with regard to any of these indicators: being ready to accept any kind of job, a job with no link with ones training, or a part-time job. It seems that their difficulties with regard to work are being translated in less regarding expectations. Other data confirm this fact. If one takes into account the minimal monthly net wage that they are willing to accept, young women are less regarding again. It is significantly less elevated for them than for young men.

58Taken together, these information concerning expectations highlight the existence of adaptive preference mechanisms for young women, with regard to the nature of employment and wages. Objective higher difficulties to find employment, as well as prevailing gender-related wage inequalities on the labour market, are internalized by women, eventually producing adaptive preference.

59In addition to this, they also have greater difficulties to convert their search efforts in valuable results. We now consider the fact of obtaining job interviews when unemployed.

5.2.1 Obtaining an interview: inequalities in conversion of efforts

60The fact that is being analysed here is a fundamental but insufficient event when looking for a job. As we have seen through interviews and empirical observation in local agencies for unemployed young people, obtaining an interview with a potential recruiter is often experienced as a little success. Search periods are often organized around the sending of application letters, and when one answer is positive and offers the young people an interview, it is often taken as positive and comforting news. However, of course, obtaining an interview does not say nothing about the probability to obtain a job contract, and this is what really matters in the end! Nevertheless, this event is seldom analysed in the literature, though it offers an interesting information about the search process and the efforts that are made by the unemployed persons.

61Searching a job can pass through many different channels, and sending letters is one among others, not necessarily the most efficient (compared to personal network and relations). For the sample, it is the channel the most used. On the average, the young unemployed have answered to 10.6 job offers, and have sent 12.2 unsolicited applications. 30% of them have never answered to any job offer, and 25% sent an unsolicited application. For what results? On the average, they have had almost four interviews, while 31% of them haven’t had this opportunity (Table 10).

62A crucial difference exist between men and women. The latter have sent far more applications to job offers (14 vs. 8) and more unsolicited applications (15 vs. 10) than men, but obtained almost the same positive answers in terms of interviews. They are far more active than men in terms of efforts but obtain as many interviews as them.

TABLE 10. OBTAINING AN INTERVIEW

TABLE 10. OBTAINING AN INTERVIEW

63One factor that may have its influence on this fact is that women experience on average longer unemployment spells than men. But this cannot ex-plain this visible inequality. Figures actually indicate an inequality of conversion. Women have to take more steps to obtain the same results as men when considering the fact of obtaining an interview. We know, moreover, that the former are less often in employment than the latter, which indicates their poorer success with regard the outcome of these interviews. Not only is it more difficult for women to convert their efforts into valuable achievements, but also is it more difficult for them to convert their resources and ambitions – just remember their vocational resources are higher and their expectations with regard the nature of employment and wages are lower. In a dynamic perspective, this may impact on the fact of keeping lowering their preference and keeping doubling their efforts vis-à-vis men.

64One question could be the following: isn’t this fact just the result of a less efficient search by women compared to men? The explanation would then incorporate back efficiency considerations in the previous statement mostly centred on inequity considerations. Women may not target the job offers properly, they may write less enthusiastic or attractive application letters, their search behaviour may be less rational, etc. Then the responsibility of their situation would fall upon their shoulders. Is this explanation fully satisfying? One can doubt being given the pool of studies emphasising the higher degree of constraints experienced by women on the labour market, and the necessity for them to double efforts and to bypass many discriminating structures. In the case of integration into work in France, this is a result of many recent studies (Epiphane et al.,2001; Dormont et Dufour-Kippelen, 2000; Vero, 2000; Trancart et Testenoire, 2003, among others).

65Table 11 presents the result of a temptative model for explaining the variable ”obtaining an interview when unemployed”. We see (first line of the table) that women’s probability to obtain an interview is 32% lower than men’s one. Note that other factors than sex are significant: having one of one’s parents born in a foreign country, having a low level of qualification, having a child or more, belonging to a family with more than two children. Owning an independent housing is on the contrary a positive factor.

TABLE 11. OBTAINING AN INTERVIEW.ESTIMATES OF THE MODEL (MODÈLE À EFFETS ALÉATOIRES)

TABLE 11. OBTAINING AN INTERVIEW.ESTIMATES OF THE MODEL (MODÈLE À EFFETS ALÉATOIRES)

Note: odds-ratios represent the ratio between the probability to obtain an interview and the opposite probability. In bold are those significant with p-value < 1%. Starred* those significant with p-value < 5%

66Young people belonging to trajectory n° 2 have the higher probability to have a job interview when unemployed. Compared to them, those of trajectory n° 6 have a probability 83% inferior. All the other trajectories than this one, however, also seem disadvantaged compared to the n° 2. Opportunities grow up at wave 4, reflecting a better economic conjuncture in France.

67To summarise, the indicator ”obtaining an interview” gives an original yet patchy indication on issues that cannot uniquely boil down to a rational choice theoretical-lecture in terms of efficient behaviour. The second indicator analysed now nonetheless show the difficulty to bring this distinction between individual behaviour and structural constraints to a close. The capability framework however permits to bring the reflection further.

5.2. Having had the opportunity not to accept a job offer when unemployed

68Is the fact of having refused at least one concrete job offer during one’s insertion period a good indicator of capability? At first glance it actually looks like a good candidate. The capability to work implies the real freedom not to accept any kind of employment proposal. The opportunity to refuse a job seems to be a sign of a genuine capability vis-à-vis the labour market (Bonvin and Farvaque 2005). It both refers to the ”opportunity” aspect of free-dom, i.e. the intrinsic value of alternative choices individuals may have on the labour market, and to the ”process” aspect of freedom as well, for the public work-oriented schemes in which unemployed people may be involved, such as workfare programmes, may impose on them ”offers they can’t refuse” (see Lodemel and Trickey 2000). Hence the particular –and partial– indicator on which we now focus is particularly interesting with respect to the ”opportunity” aspect (the opportunity not to choose an option that is not valued) and the ”process” aspect (the opportunity to do genuine choices and not to be forced to choose a particular option).

69In the former event considered above (obtaining an interview), the choice eventually lied with the employer – it was he or she who had to take the decision to recruit or not the applicant. With the event now considered (rejecting an offer), the choice eventually lies with the applicant him/herself. What do the data say?

70Let’s have first a general outlook. Only 22% of the individuals have had the opportunity to refuse one job offer during an unemployment spell. The principal reasons for this are provided by Table 12. Men mostly refuse jobs for being ”uninteresting”, while women can so judge the offers refused twice times less. As well, women do cite the insufficient level of wages less often that men do, which is consistent with their lower expectations in that respect. The former attach more value to working hours than the latter.

TABLE 12. FIRST REASON FOR REFUSING A JOB (%)

TABLE 12. FIRST REASON FOR REFUSING A JOB (%)

Note: other, no response = 5.07% of the total

  • 1 obviously some errors in the filling of the questionnaire

Note1

71Table 13 estimates the probability to have refused one job offer. The results are somewhat unexpected. Women have in effect 20% greater opportunities to have refused an offer than men. Another unexpected result is that the more important the level of qualification, the less important this probability: compared to the lowest training level, the young people having reached the highest level in this sample have a 23% lower probability. Similarly, the qualification of one’s father has a negative influence.

TABLE 13. REFUSING A JOB. ESTIMATES OF THE LOGIT MODEL (À EFFETS ALÉATOIRES)

TABLE 13. REFUSING A JOB. ESTIMATES OF THE LOGIT MODEL (À EFFETS ALÉATOIRES)

Note: odds-ratios represent the ratio between the probability to refuse a job proposition and the opposite probability. In bold are those significant with p-value < 1%. Starred* those significant with p-value < 5%

72More expected are the following results: youngsters born in a foreign country have an 52% lower probability than those born in France. Being more often discriminated on the labour market than the latter (see Viprey 2002), they might have to accept any firm proposition. Individuals living in an independent housing have a 39% greater probability to have refused a job. Being independent may provide the opportunity not to be driven by urgency. On the contrary, young parents less often refuse a job.

73Noticeable but expected is the fact that the more stable and conducive to employment the trajectory, the greater this probability. Having followed apprenticeship is also a positive factor, as well as having had a professional activity while at school. Finally, the time passed on the labour market is also a positive factor, as well as the overall economic conjuncture (which is better in wave 4 than in the previous ones).

74Why do the results concerning sex and training go against the intuition? The responsibility might lie with the quality of the indicator used, or at least with it being interpreted as a indicator of capability. Having refused an offer clearly indicates the fact not to accept any kind of option, and to remain sovereign of oneself. But, again, efficiency of behaviour is not known at all. For instance the quality of the targeting: the more improper the targeting, the more the potential job offers will be remove from one’s preferences, and the more reasonable will be their refusal. Non-rational search behaviour may eventually lead to reasonable negative choices. Do women target less properly than men the companies, sectors, areas, etc. when applying? There is obviously a paradox between their having higher levels of constraint but higher probability to refuse a job contract. Have their preference changed between their application and its being accepted? It is another possible explanation. But this cannot be a proper candidate in order to explain why downgrading (”déclassement”) is a widespread phenomenon in France, which consists in a vast majority of people being systematically recruited for jobs for which they are over-qualified (see Forgeot and Gautié 1997). An important reason for not accepting a job is its distance with one’s level of qualification, especially for men (as we saw supra, cf. table 12).

75Another reason why, contrary to what is expected, the most qualified have the lowest probability to have refused a job can simply be the fact their search behaviour is lucid and efficient, and makes them enter into contact with well-targeted positions only.

  • 21 With regard to employment institutions and the role of public intermediaries on the labour market, (...)

76It remains this unexpected fact that both a favoured category (the most qualified) and a deprived one (the women) share a common feature – they most often than the rest of the sample refuse jobs. How, in the end, should the interest of this indicator be judged? What means the opportunity to have refused a job? On its own, this cannot be a proper candidate for assessing ones extent of choice on the labour market. Search methods that are employed, peoples rationality, preferences and reasons should be more deeply scrutinised. We saw, in effect, that on the contrary of what standard labour economics assumes, individual rationality does not emanate, and that ones choices, far from representing ones interests, should be assessed against objective standards of freedom and constraints. The data in our possession do not allow this, and more generally, such statistical data may prove insufficient. Eventually, this is the nature of information that is to be questioned. A possibility should be to use other methods, more qualitative, using interviews with people, scrutinizing the reasons they express and may be going further in the comprehension of their rationale. As well, how do institutions, such as local agencies, have an impact on peoples capacity to choose and to make good choices, or even on the genuine nature of their preference, is a question that needs further investigation21.

Concluding remarks

77This study has analysed the trajectory of a sample of young people with low levels of qualifications in a dynamical perspective. It has drawn on the capability approach with the aim to describe people’s unequal trajectories. While these people all share a common feature, i.e. belonging to the lowest group in terms of level of qualification, we saw that individuals are nevertheless heterogeneous with regard access to employment – which we analysed at the light of functionings and refined functionings directly related to the job search – and the achievement of some functionings not directly related to work. It is not sufficient to rely on the ”level of qualification” information, for people convert this resource into different levels of achievements. Generally speaking, this information has for sure a cutting-edge power, but when shifting to individual data and relying on a longitudinal analysis, things are more complicated. Heterogeneity between people and their relative success are not a matter of resources only, on the one hand, and free and rational choices, or efforts, on the other.

78The opportunity aspect of freedom has been emphasised. We however rather stressed unfreedoms or uncapabilities than genuine freedoms and capabilities. This fact, that the CA more easily boils down to an analysis of deprivations, constraints and lacks of freedom, is common to all the empirical attempts to operationalise Sen’s approach with regard to inclusion into work (Schokkaert et Van Ootegem, 1990; Le Clainche, 1994; Burchardt, 2002; Vero, 2002). With respect to these later works, ours innovates by the use of a methodology based on the definition of typical trajectories.

79Belonging to one of the six typical trajectories is conditioned by people’s initial characteristics, such as sex or the level of qualification or one’s social background. These results are in accordance with the literature in the field. As a consequence, belonging to one of the typical trajectories impinge on one’s functionings a few years after one’s leaving the school system.

80The study emphasised the effectiveness of selectivity and discrimination criteria on the labour market. Constraints that the young women face do not result from lower resources (they have better level of qualification) nor from lower efforts (they send more application letters than men for lower interviews obtained) nor from more ”expensive” preference (on the contrary, they are less demanding when asked about the kind of job they would accept).

81What is the informational interest to try to go beyond the functionings basis in order to capture some capabilities? This is the issue raised by our study of two particular events – actually, two ”refined functionings” – which at first sight seem to aptly inform on people’s ranges of choices. They offer a more complex perspective on the issue of individual choice when dealing with job search and the process of transition from school to work. This complexity is not sufficiently addressed with our partial statistical approach. Complementary approaches should be on offer. A first source of complexity, when dealing with people’s choices on the labour market, is that these choices depend on other people’s choices as well – in particular the recruiters’ choices. To this respect it should be interesting to focus more precisely on recruiters’ models of judgement and evaluative bases of assessment, relying on qualitative and sociological approaches for instance (see Eymard-Duvernay and Marchal 1996). There is a plurality of informational bases used by these actors. One can imagine a role for institutions which would consist on acting on these models of judgement when they systematically discriminate against certain categories of persons. Institutions would act as informational agencies and ”conversion operators” with potential important effects on individuals’ capabilities.

82A second source of complexity appears when the rational or reasonable aspect of individuals’ choices is questioned, as it was the case with the study of the second refined functioning, having refused one job offer: why do girls, who are more deprived vis-à-vis employment than the average, more often refuse job offers? We mentioned two possibilities: first, they are systematically being offered bad working conditions or status etc. This questions the functioning of the labour market and its gender-oriented segmentation, and calls for further study of this dualistic dynamic with regard to people’s capabilities. Second, some people might not have the capability to make genuine choices, and when given the possibility of making a precise choice between two options – work and no-work – they may wrongly evaluate these options, or be pressed by urgency, in particular financial urgency. This again calls for further research and a complementary sociological methodology, aimed at understanding people’s ”reason to value” their current options.

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Notes

1 See the debate between Pattanaik and Xu (1990) and Sen (1990, 1991, 2002a).

2 For a more complete view of what capability for work entails, see Bonvin and Farvaque (2005). It particularly entails exit options (i.e., the presence of an opportunity not to accept any condition, and this is the role of social law and social security systems) and voice options (i.e. the capability to individually or collectively negotiate the content of the opportunities). The illustration given above is obviously too limitative in this respect. This interpretation of Sen and Nussbaums framework of (combined) capabilities implies institutional schemes that render peoples rights and duties effective and attached to individuals capabilities. Saying this boils down to give an important responsibility to the State and to public institutions (for instance, the quality and possibilities to act of the Public Employment Service, see Bonvin and Farvaque 2003).

3 This section draws heavily on Bonvin and Farvaque (2005).

4 This connects with Sens vision on education, which is a compulsory activity for education and thus, at first glance, a reduction of their current freedom of choice. However, this compulsion has to be assessed against the life-span, and with consideration of the childrens future opportunity set and real freedoms, vis-à-vis professional life and life tout court. See Saito (2003) which contains extracts of an interview of the author with Sen.

5 Examples are numerous. We have in mind the case of a third-sector enterprise located in Geneva where unemployed women have to sort out old garment, this work being paid by their unemployment benefits, and obviously offering no career perspective. When asking these employees their feelings, they expressed contentment to belong to a group and to do something, while evoking their fatigue. But such subjectivity has to be assessed against a more objective framework in order to avoid the adaptive preferences trap.

6 The CEREQ has published an exhaustive exploration of this panel which inspired us much (see Giret et al., 2002).

7 To be precise, we had two files at our disposition: thefirst oneincluding the scheduleof all the situations of people in the labour market, and the second one including diverse information on the individuals, their subjective opinion, their resources, etc. This is this second one which was badly filled at the fifth wave. This does not apply to the schedule, which is correctly filled.

8 This V level can be certificated (diplômé) or not (non diplômé).

9 Tables are reported at the end of the paper, with additional descriptive information.

10 For more information on these categories, see the French first version of this text (Farvaque, Oliveau, 2004)

11 Province stands for all France except the Parisian area

12 Unique children have a probability 57% times lower than children with 2 sisters or brothers to belong to trajectory n° 6 rather to the n° 2. See Eric Maurins works, who finds big correlations between belonging to a large brotherhood, the overcrowding of childrens rooms at home, and educational achievements, with in the end negative effects on vocational integration. The size of the brotherhood is one of the most significant variables in the measure of youngsters poverty in France when using the first wave of this panel (Vero et Werquin 1997).

13 We will come back to this theoretical and semantic distinction between functionings and capabilities later.

14 An exception being the seminal paper by Schokkaert and Van Ootegem, who used answers to retrospective questions framed that way Since my being unemployed, I feel that…. They take the answers to these questions as information on the possible loss of capabilities due to the loss of employment.

15 We do not consider in this paper a functioning studied in the first version of the text, namely to be satisfied with ones incomes (subjective wealth). See the French version or contact the author if interested.

16 As we said above, data for the fifth wave of the panel are insufficiently filled.

17 To take a different example to the one classically used by Sen, opposing a disabled person with anon-disabled one.

18 This phenomenon of isolation and this feeling of being in a corner of the society are clearly evidenced as one of the major non-monetary deprivations experimented by the unemployed by Schokkaert and Van Ootegem (1990) and Le Clainche (1994).

19 Plus financial autonomy which is not reproduced here. See the paper in French.

20 There are, in fact, two alternative ways of proceeding from here. One is to look at opportunities in an adequately broad way, which is what the idea of capability is meant to do. The focus, in this case, is on the actual ability to achieve (not merely on some formal opportunity that may or may not be in itself enabling). The other approach is to broaden the description of achievements to comprehensive outcomes (Sen 1997), including the process of choice, in order to go beyond the limited informational content of what may be called culmination outcomes. (Sen, 2002b, Response to commentaries, Studies in Comparative International …: 83)

21 With regard to employment institutions and the role of public intermediaries on the labour market, see the sociological approach mobilised in Eymard-Duvernay and Marchal (1996), Bessy, Eymard-Duvernay et al. (2003), Benarrosh (2000), Martinon (2002), Farvaque (2005) or Bonvin and Farvaque (2005). In a capability perspective, the methods and fieldworks used in Nussbaum (2000), Guérin (2000) and Alkire (2002) indicate valuable routes for further research. Also see Zimmerman (2005) and Garsten, Corteel and Lindvert (2005).

Notes de fin

1 obviously some errors in the filling of the questionnaire

Table des illustrations

Titre TABLE 1. LEVEL OF QUALIFICATION (%)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/1737/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 188k
Titre GRAPH. 1. FORMS OF TRAJECTORIES (ALL YOUNG PEOPLE IN THE SAMPLE)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/1737/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 364k
Titre GRAPH. 2. SIX TYPICAL TRAJECTORIES
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/1737/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,5M
Titre TABLE 2. BELONGING TO A TRAJECTORY: A MULTINOMIAL LOGIT MODEL
Légende Note: odds-ratios represent the ratio between the probability to belong to trajectory j and the probability to belong to the trajectory taken as reference. In bold are those significant with p-value <1%. With a star* those significant with p-value <5%.
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/1737/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 828k
Titre TABLE 3. PROPORTION OF YOUNG INDEPENDENTS VIS-À-VIS HOUSING ACCORDING TO SEX (%)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/1737/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 160k
Titre TABLE 4. ACCESS TO HOUSING INDEPENDENCE (AT WAVE =4) ACCORDING TO THE TRAJECTORY (%)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/1737/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 128k
Titre TABLE 5. ACCESS TO HOUSING INDEPENDENCE (AT WAVE = 4). ESTIMATES OF THE LOGIT MODEL
Légende Note: odds-ratios represent the ratio between the probability to be independent and the probability not to be independent. In bold are those significant with p-value <1% (here the case for all odds-ratios).
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/1737/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 696k
Titre TABLE 6. TO BE SATISFIED WITH ONE’S HOUSING.ESTIMATES OF THE LOGIT MODEL
Légende Note: odds-ratios represent the ratio between the probability to be satisfied with one’s housing and the opposite probability. In bold are those significant with p-value < 1% (here thecasefor allodds-ratios).
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/1737/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 448k
Titre TABLE 7. OWNING A MOTORISED VEHICLE AT WAVE = 4
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/1737/img-9.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 164k
Titre TABLE 8. OWNING A MOTORISED VEHICLE AT WAVE =4.ESTIMATES OF THE LOGIT MODEL
Légende Note: odds-ratios represent the ratio between the probability to own a motorised vehicle and the opposite probability. In bold are those significant with p-value < 1% (here the case for all odds-ratios).
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/1737/img-10.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 484k
Titre GRAPH 3. SOCIAL RELATIONS ACCORDING TO THE TRAJECTORIES
Légende Note: the number in y is the value of our indicator of participation
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/1737/img-11.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 324k
Titre TABLE 9. YOUNG UNEMPLOYED’S DEMANDS VIS-À-VIS TYPES OF JOB
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/1737/img-12.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 320k
Titre TABLE 10. OBTAINING AN INTERVIEW
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/1737/img-13.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 224k
Titre TABLE 11. OBTAINING AN INTERVIEW.ESTIMATES OF THE MODEL (MODÈLE À EFFETS ALÉATOIRES)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/1737/img-14.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 260k
Légende Note: odds-ratios represent the ratio between the probability to obtain an interview and the opposite probability. In bold are those significant with p-value < 1%. Starred* those significant with p-value < 5%
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/1737/img-15.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 588k
Titre TABLE 12. FIRST REASON FOR REFUSING A JOB (%)
Légende Note: other, no response = 5.07% of the total
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/1737/img-16.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 492k
Titre TABLE 13. REFUSING A JOB. ESTIMATES OF THE LOGIT MODEL (À EFFETS ALÉATOIRES)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/1737/img-17.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 212k
Légende Note: odds-ratios represent the ratio between the probability to refuse a job proposition and the opposite probability. In bold are those significant with p-value < 1%. Starred* those significant with p-value < 5%
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/1737/img-18.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,1M

Auteur

Nicolas Farvaque est docteur en sciences économiques, responsable de la recherche et des études à l’ORSEU (Office européen de conseil, recherche et formations en relations sociales, Lille, France), et chercheur associé à l’IDHE, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan. Ses travaux portent notamment sur l’approche des capacités appliquée aux questions d’emploi et d’insertion. Il est le co-auteur, avec J.-M. Bonvin, d’une introduction au travail d’Amartya Sen (Editions Michalon, coll. ”Le Bien Commun”, parution prévue 2008). Dans le cadre de l’ORSEU, il est l’auteur en 2007 de rapports d’étude sur la qualité de l’emploi dans le secteur de l’animation socio-culturelle et sur les perceptions des discriminations pour les lycéens et étudiants à la recherche d’un stage professionnel en France (disponibles sur www.orseu.com).
Office européen de conseil, recherche et formations en relations sociales (ORSEU), Lille

© Presses universitaires de Louvain, 2007

Conditions d’utilisation : http://www.openedition.org/6540