Completed research projects

Preparatory meeting "Chances and barriers in transition from educational system to labour market: a comparative yotuh study in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Tajikistan"

Duration: 2014

Funding: VolkswagenStiftung (funding initiative "Between Europe and Orient", call "Institutional change and social practice. Research on the political system, the economy and society in Central Asia and the Caucasus")

Funding volume: 6,900 Euros

Project director: Prof. Dr. Michael Gebel

Short description: The aim of the preparatory workshop, which was held at the University of Bamberg from 29 to 30 October 2014, was to develop a full research proposal on "Opportunities and Barriers at the Transition from Education to Work. A Comparative Youth Study in Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Tajikistan". Workshop participants were Tair Faradov (International Centre for Social Research ICSR) and Rajab Sattarov (ICSR and Baku State University) from Azerbaijan, Irina Badurashvili (Georgian Centre of Population Research GCPR) and Giorgi Meladze (I.Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University) from Georgia, as well as Saodat Olimova (SHARQ Research Center) and Subhon Ashurov (Technological University of Tajikistan, Dushanbe) from Tajikistan. This research network unites experts from sociology, psychology, economics, demography and human geography, which is a promising approach given the variety of problems youths face in Central Asia and the Caucasus. The partners of the research network are very grateful to Volkwagen Foundation for financing the preparatory workshop. The research network intensified its cooperation in preparation of, during and after the workshop. It was used as an opportunity to discuss the helpful comments of pre-proposal reviewers and to collaboratively develop the full research proposal.

During the workshop, members of the research network presented preliminary results and thoughts concerning the topic of youth labour market transitions in the Caucasus and Central Asia through an interdisciplinary perspective. Michael Gebel held a presentation on “The Transition from Education to Work in Central Asia and the Caucasus in International Comparative Perspective” and provided a cross-national perspective and summarized main results of previous research projects in neighbouring regions of Eastern Europe (such as the Volkswagen Foundation project “Educational Systems and Labour Markets in Central and Eastern Europe”) and the Middle East. The colleagues from Georgia covered demographic and human geographical aspects of the transition from education to work in Georgia. Irina Badurashvili presented on “Gender aspects of transition to adulthood in Georgia” and Giorgi Meladze presented on “Regional aspects of demographic situation in Georgia”. Tair Faradov and Rajab Sattarov provided important first insights from (social-)psychology. They presented jointly on “Social values and individual attitudes with regard to education, work and family among youths in Azerbaijan”. Their presentation provided important insights into the role of subjective factors and attitudes, which will be addressed in the planned youth surveys, especially the qualitative youth surveys addressing self-concept. Saodat Olimova gave a presentation on “Youth of Tajikistan in the transition from education to work: challenges and individual life strategies Tajikistan” and emphasized the issue of ethnic minorities and religion (Islam) as important ascriptive factors in the transition from education to work in Tajikistan. In his presentation, “The state of the labour market and youth employment in Tajikistan”, Subhon Ashurov summarized the challenges the Tajik education system faces in preparing youth for labour market integration. He also emphasized the important issue of youth labour migration form Tajikistan to Russia, which led the research network to decide to address the issue of migration.


Young Women's Labour Market Chances in Muslim Middle Eastern and Northern African Countries

Duration: 2011 - 2014

Funding: Ministry of Science, Research and Arts Baden-Wuerttemberg and the University of Mannheim

Funding volume: 93,933 Euros

Project director: Prof. Dr. Michael Gebel (This research project was located at the Mannheim Centre for European Social Research)

Short description: Against the background that young women in Middle Eastern and Northern African (MENA) countries have the worst labour market chances in worldwide comparison, the central research question of this project was to identify determinants of young women’s labour market chances in MENA countries. Instead of focusing simply on labour market aspects, this project adopted a holistic perspective on women’s school-to-work transition process and important related processes of educational attainment and family formation following the conception of “transition to adulthood”. Adopting a life course perspective, a general micro-macro-theoretical framework was developed for understanding the chances and barriers women face in their transition to adulthood.

For the empirical analyses, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, and Syria were selected as country case studies. Macro-data were collected and analysed in order to describe the specific institutional, cultural, and macro-structural context that young women face in the four selected MENA countries. Moreover, the project drew on micro-data from nationally representative, large-scale individual-level data from household panel surveys and retrospective youth surveys from Egypt, Iran, Jordan, and Syria, covering the most recent years prior to the Arab Spring. Based on these data, women were tracked over their early life courses, enabling the capturing of the dynamic processes and micro-level causal mechanisms of the transition to adulthood.

Results of the project were presented at several international conferences and were published in a monograph (Gebel, M. and S. Heyne (2014). Transitions to adulthood in the Middle East and North Africa. Young women’s rising? Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan). The results show that there is no standard pathway to adulthood, rather a great variety of individual early life courses, inducing a high level of social inequality among young women. A set of individual-level, familial, and contextual factors were identified that hinder or pave young women's way in the different life domains. Moreover, results show strong interrelationships between early life course conditions and transitions.

For further information click here.


The Impact of the Economic Crisis on Youth Labour Markets in Europe

Duration: 2012 - 2014

Funding: Ministry of Science, Research and Arts Baden-Wuerttemberg

Funding volume: 139,794 Euros (Though funding for the project was granted for a three year period, the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts (MWK) Baden-Württemberg ended the project after 7 months, when the project leader was appointed as a full professor in another German federal state.)

Project director: Prof. Dr. Michael Gebel (This research project was located at the Mannheim Centre for European Social Research)

Short Description: Looking at age-specific unemployment rates reveals that the recent economic crisis particularly hit young people. Subsequently, concerns over the creation of a "lost generation" have been raised as the exclusion from the labour market can have far-reaching negative consequences for young people. With these concerns in the forefront, this research project investigated if the economic crisis deteriorated the already disadvantaged position of young people in the labour market further. Taking a European comparative perspective the aim of the project was to obtain new insights about which institutional arrangements and policy measures can protect youth from the impact of an economic crisis.

The empirical analyses were based on comparative micro data of the European Labour Force Survey (EULFS). The labour market positions of young people were examined in a multidimensional perspective during the economic crisis. Specifically, risks of labour market exclusion were examined both in terms of various forms of non-employment as well as in risks of different types of precarious employment.

First results were presented at international conferences and a first publication appeared as a report on youth transitions in Europe during times of the economic crisis. Though the project had a planned duration of three years, it ended after only 7 months, when the project leader was appointed as a full professor in another German federal state and the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts (MWK) Baden-Württemberg stopped funding it. 

For further information click here.