Vulnerability through lack of employment – IP4

Studies of this project focus on vulnerability from a labour market perspective and look specifically at lack of employment. Job loss is a critical life event and lack of employment is one of the most important stressors for people today. Moreover, job loss represents a key problem in our age of digitalization and it has the potential to spill over to other life domains, such as family or health.

This programme investigates how firms, more than the individual job seeker, contribute to job opportunities for vulnerable people. It discusses how to better support job search, by offering job seekers the tools to augment their cognitive reserves. It also documents the long-run consequences of job loss in different life domains (notably professional career, family life, health and well-being). Gender plays a critical role in this programme and special attention is drawn to the effects of maternity on women’s employment trajectories and sex-typed expectations on occupations and employees.

IP4–Employability identifies three knowledge gaps:

  1. A better understanding of the role of firms in offering employment to vulnerable people.
  2. The long-term effect of lack of employment on inequality.
  3. A better understanding of how to support job seekers to find employment in the short-run, hence improving their employability. 

Research questions

How do firms contribute to vulnerability?

It is firms that make the crucial decisions of who to invite to job interviews, offer employment, and re-employ after a break. This research question addresses three stages where firms play a role: beliefs, recruiting (in particular of older job seekers and women), and career interruptions (specifically, around childbirth).

What inequalities are generated by the lack of employment?

This project aims to develop an innovative methodology to stimulate lifetime income and employment trajectories with short panels of three time periods, including a large number of countries. Researchers address important policy questions: how long does it take to recover from a negative labour market shock? Does the recovery pattern differ between men/women or if the shock comes at early age/later in life? In which countries and for which socio-economic groups is it more difficult to recover?

How can job search strategies be improved?

Improving job search helps people bridge the gaps between jobs and return to employment faster, helping them to secure better employment. Studies address the relative importance of two potential impediments: lack of information about appropriate jobs and lack of cognitive capacity. In the age of digitalization, job seekers need to re-calibrate their job search targets, because their previous jobs may have gone extinct. Also, many job seekers have little information about which jobs are suitable for them and tend to search too narrowly. At the same time, unemployment is a stressful experience and it may reduce their cognitive capacity, further limiting their ability to adopt effective search strategies. 


Prof. Daniel Oesch (University of Lausanne)
Prof. Michele Pellizzari (University of Geneva)

  • UNIL: Giuliano Bonoli, Rafael Lalive, Leen Vandecasteele
Researchers and post-docs
  • UNIL: Esther Mirjam Girsberger Seelaus, Lena Hassani Nezhad, Alessandro di Nallo

Doctoral students

  • UNIL: Kalaivani Karunanethy, Fiona Köster, Luana Goviea Marx

  • UNIGE: Dan Orsholits, Doriana Tinello

Other staff

  • UNIL: Nathalie Vigna, Jimi Vaubien


Selected publications

Other publications

Carattini, S., Baranzini, A., & Lalive, R.. (2018). Is taxing waste a waste of time? Evidence from a supreme court decision. Ecological Economics, 148, 131–151. doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2018.02.001
PDF icon Article (PDF) (672.28 KB)
Cottier, L., Degen, K., & Lalive, R.. (2019). Can unemployment benefit cuts improve employment and earnings?. Empirical Economics. doi:10.1007/s00181-019-01677-6
PDF icon Article (PDF) (790.53 KB)
Combet, B., & Oesch, D.. (2019). The gender wage gap opens long before motherhood: Panel evidence on early careers in Switzerland. European Sociological Review, 35, 332–345. doi:
PDF icon Article (PDF) (369.99 KB)
Korber, M., & Oesch, D.. (2019). Vocational versus general education: Employment and earnings over the life course in Switzerland. Advances in Life Course Research, 40, 1–13. doi:10.1016/j.alcr.2019.03.003
PDF icon Article (PDF) (1.06 MB)
Bonoli, G., & Wilson, A.. (2019). Bringing firms on board. Inclusiveness of the dual apprenticeship systems in Germany, Switzerland and Denmark. International Journal of Social Welfare, 28, 369-379. doi:10.1111/ijsw.12371
PDF icon Article (PDF) (374.52 KB)
Bonoli, G., & Fossati, F.. (2018). More than noise? Explaining instances of minority preference in correspondence studies of recruitment. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. doi:10.1080/1369183X.2018.1502658
PDF icon Article (PDF) (1.51 MB)
Güell, M., Pellizzari, M., Pica, G., & Rodríguez, J. V. Mora. (2018). Correlating social mobility and economic outcomes. The Economic Journal, 128, 353–403. doi:10.1111/ecoj.12599
PDF icon Article (PDF) (1 MB)
Weber, S., Ramirez, J. V., & Luzzi, G. Ferro. (2019). Travail frontalier et maux du marché du travail : Le cas suisse.. Borders in Perspective - UniGR-CBS cahier thématique. Les travailleurs frontaliers au luxembourg et en suisse : Emploi, quotidien et perceptions, 2, 73–84. doi:10.25353/ubtr-xxxx-2824-db4c
Auer, D., & Fossati, F.. (2019). The absent rewards of assimilation: How ethnic penalties persist in the Swiss labour market. The Journal of Economic Inequality, 17, 285–299. doi:10.1007/s10888-018-9401-2
Bonoli, G. (2019). Social security policy. In A. Ladner, Soguel, N., Emery, Y., Weerts, S., & Nahrath, S. (Eds.), Swiss Public Administration: Making the State Work Successfully (pp. 309–322). Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-92381-9_18
PDF icon Chapter (PDF) (216.83 KB)
Bernhard, L., Fossati, F., Hänggli, R., & Kriesi, H. (Eds.). (2019). Debating unemployment policy. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/9781108609340
Bonoli, G. (2018). Active labour market policies for an inclusive growth. In C. Deeming & Smyth, P. (Eds.), Reframing Global Social Policy: Social Investment for Sustainable and Inclusive Growth (1st ed., pp. 169–187). Bristol: The Policy Press.
Oesch, D., & Rennwald, L.. (2018). Electoral competition in Europe's new tripolar political space: Class voting for the left, centre-right and radical right. European Journal of Political Research, Advance online publication., 1-25. doi:10.1111/1475-6765.12259
PDF icon Article(PDF) (437.01 KB)
Weber, S., Ferro-Luzzi, G., & Ramirez, J.. (2018). Do cross-border workers cause unemployment in the host country? The case of Switzerland. Espace populations sociétés, Advance online publication, 1-29. doi:10.4000/eps.7301
PDF icon Article(PDF) (834.59 KB)
Latina, J., & Ramirez, J.. (2017). On the efficiency of school tracking: a perspective from outcomes in dual VET in Switzerland. Journal for Labour Market Research, 51, 1–19. doi:10.1186/s12651-017-0233-5
PDF icon Article(PDF) (988.98 KB)
Oesch, D., & Murphy, E.. (2017). Keine Erosion, sondern Wachstum der Mittelklasse. Der Wandel der Schweizer Berufsstruktur seit 1970. Social Change in Switzerland, 12, 1–13. doi:10.22019/SC-2017-00010
PDF icon Article(PDF) (530.81 KB)
Murphy, E., & Oesch, D.. (2017). Is employment polarisation inevitable? Occupational change in Ireland and Switzerland, 1970–2010. Work, employment and society, Advance online publication, 1–19. doi:10.1177/0950017017738944
PDF icon Article(PDF) (587.7 KB)
Felfe, C., & Lalive, R.. (2018). Does early child care affect children's development?. Journal of Public Economics, 159, 33–53. doi:10.1016/j.jpubeco.2018.01.014
PDF icon Article(PDF) (540.84 KB)
Pellizzari, M., & Fichen, A.. (2017). A new measure of skills mismatch: theory and evidence from PIAAC. IZA Journal of Labor Economics, 6(1), Advance online publication. doi:10.1186/s40172-016-0051-y
PDF icon Article (PDF) (834.19 KB)
Efferson, C., M Cacault, P., Lalive, R., & Kistler, D.. (2016). The evolution of facultative conformity based on similarity. PLoSone, 11(16), e0168551. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0168551
PDF icon Article (PDF) (1.79 MB)
Eugster, B., Lalive, R., Steinhauer, A., & Zweimüller, J.. (2017). Culture, Work Attitudes, and Job Search: Evidence from the Swiss Language Border. Journal of the European Economic Association, 15, 1056–1100. doi:10.1093/jeea/jvw024
PDF icon Article (PDF) (1.92 MB)
Lalive, R., & Parrotta, P.. (2017). How does pension eligibility affect labor supply in couples?. Labour Economics, 46, 177-188. doi:10.1016/j.labeco.2016.10.002
PDF icon Article (PDF) (1.07 MB)
Baumann, I., Lipps, O., Oesch, D., & Vandenplas, C.. (2016). How to survey displaced workers in Switzerland? Ways of addressing sources of bias. In M. Oris, Roberts, C., Joye, D., & Ernst Stähli, M. (Eds.), Surveying Human Vulnerabilities across the Life Course (pp. 159-176). New York, USA: Springer.
PDF icon Chapter (PDF) (252.54 KB)
Oesch, D. (2015). Occupational structure and labor market change in Western Europe since 1990. In P. Beramendi, Häusermann, S., Kitschelt, H., & Kriesi, H. (Eds.), The Politics of Advanced Capitalism (pp. 112-132). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
PDF icon Chapter (PDF) (295.74 KB)
Carrascal, J. Pablo, de Oliveira, R., & Cherubini, M.. (2015). To call or to recall? That's the research question. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, 22(1), 1-30. doi:
PDF icon Article (PDF) (1.72 MB)
Liechti, F., Fossati, F., Bonoli, G., & Auer, D.. (2017). The signalling value of labour market programmes. European Sociological Review, 33(2), 257-274. doi:10.1093/esr/jcw061
PDF icon Article (PDF) (302.37 KB)
Auer, D., Bonoli, G., & Fossati, F.. (2017). Why do immigrants have longer periods of unemployment? Swiss evidence. International Migration, 55(1), 157-174. doi:10.1111/imig.12309
PDF icon Article (PDF) (140.59 KB)
Oesch, D. (2016). Wandel der Berufsstruktur in Westeuropa seit 1990: Polarisierung oder Aufwertung?. In Essays on Inequality and Integration (pp. 184-210). Zurich, Switzerland: Seismo.
PDF icon Chapter (PDF) (369.66 KB)
Joye, D., & Falcon, J.. (2016). Soziale Ungleichheiten in der Schweiz: eine Bestandsaufnahme und aktuelle Herausforderungen. In B. Ziegler (Ed.), Ungleichheit(en) und Demokratie (First., pp. 21-41). Zürich: Schulthess.
PDF icon Chapter (PDF) (1.19 MB)
Turtschi, N. (2016). Le réseau social: un outil inégalitaire?. Revue suisse de sociologie, 42(3), 499-520.
PDF icon Article (PDF) (602.78 KB)
McDonald, P. (2017). Improving our Understanding of Employer Decision-making Thanks to Factorial Survey Analysis. LIVES Working Paper, 61, 26. doi:
PDF icon Article (570.01 KB)
Korber, M., & Oesch, D.. (2016). Does Vocational Education Give a Happy Start and a Lousy End to Careers?. LIVES Working Paper, 57, 40. doi:
PDF icon Article (1.39 MB)
Arni, P., van den Berg, G., & Lalive, R.. (2016). Treatment Versus Regime Effects of Carrots and Sticks. LIVES Working Paper, 55, 1-40. doi:
PDF icon Article (663.42 KB)
Abrassart, A., & Bonoli, G.. (2015). Availability, cost or culture? Obstacles to Childcare Services for Low Income Families. Journal of Social Policy, 44(4), 787-806. doi:10.1017/S0047279415000288
Müller, T., & Tai, S. H. T.. (2016). Individual attitudes towards migration: reconciling opposing views. University of Geneva Working Paper Series, WPS 16-02-1.
PDF icon Article (PDF) (712.08 KB)
M Cacault, P., Goette, L., Lalive, R., & Thoenig, M.. (2015). Do we harm others even if we don’t need to?. Frontiers in Psychology, 6(729), 1-9. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00729
PDF icon Article (PDF) (3 MB)
De Giorgi, G., Paccagnella, M., & Pellizzari, M.. (2015). Gender Complementarities in the Labor Market. In S. W. Polachek, Tatsiramos, K., & Zimmermann, K. F. (Eds.), Gender Convergence in the Labor Market (Vol. 41, pp. 277- 298). Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Limited. doi:10.1108/S0147-912120140000041015
PDF icon Chapter (PDF) (391.5 KB)
Lalive, R., Landais, C., & Zweimüller, J.. (2015). Market Externalities of Large Unemployment Insurance Extension Programs. American Economic Review, 105(12), 3564-96. doi:10.1257/aer.20131273
PDF icon Article (PDF) (3.1 MB)
Güell, M., Pellizzari, M., Pica, G., Mora, R., & V., J.. (2015). Correlating social mobility and economic outcomes. Working Papers of the Centre for Studies in economics and finance, 394. Retrieved from
PDF icon Article (PDF) (2.86 MB)
Leonardi, M., Pellizzari, M., & Tabasso, D.. (2015). Wage compression within the firm. Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit (IZA).
PDF icon Article (PDF) (824.47 KB)
Baumann, I., Lipps, O., Oesch, D., & Vandenplas, C.. (2016). How to survey displaced workers in Switzerland: Ways of addressing sources of bias. In M. Oris, Roberts, C., Joye, D., & Ernst Stähli, M. (Eds.), Surveying human vulnerabilities across the life course (pp. 159-176). New York: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-24157-9_7
PDF icon Chapter (PDF) (252.54 KB)
Falcon, J., & Joye, D.. (2015). Formation et mobilité sociale en Suisse: Regards sur cinquante ans d'inégalités. In G. Felouzis & Goastellec, G. (Eds.), Les inégalités scolaires en Suisse (pp. 201-224). Bern: Peter Lang.
PDF icon Chapter (PDF) (432.1 KB)
Bigotta, M. (2015). Priority to local workers and its consequences on unemployment duration. LIVES Working Papers, 2015(46), 1-24. doi:10.12682/lives.2296-1658.2015.46
PDF icon Article (PDF) (1.42 MB)
Bonoli, G., & Turtschi, N.. (2015). Inequality in social capital and labour market re-entry among unemployed people in Switzerland. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 42, 97-95. doi:10.1016/j.rssm.2015.09.004
PDF icon Article (PDF) (523.26 KB)
Boeri, T., De Philippis, M., Patacchini, E., & Pellizzari, M.. (2015). Immigration, housing discrimination and employment. The Economic Journal, 125(586), F82-F114. doi:10.1111/ecoj.12232
PDF icon Article (PDF) (253.28 KB)
Pellizzari, M., & Tabasso, D.. (2015). Swiss youth unemployment during the Great Depression. In J. J. Dolado (Ed.), No country for young people? Youth labour market problems in Europe (pp. 49-59). London: CEPR. Retrieved from
PDF icon Chapter (PDF) (317.59 KB)
Polidano, C., & Tabasso, D.. (2014). Making it real: The benefits of workplace learning in upper-secondary vocational education and training courses. Economics of Education Review, 42, 130-146. doi:10.1016/j.econedurev.2014.06.003
PDF icon Article (PDF) (454.78 KB)
Polidano, C., Tabasso, D., & Tseng, Y. - P.. (2015). A second chance at education for early school leavers. Education Economics, 23(3), 358-375. doi:10.1080/09645292.2013.834294
PDF icon Article (PDF) (159.93 KB)
Oesch, D., & von Ow, A.. (2015). Do informal contacts increase labor market inequality? Social ties, job access and wages for the unemployed. LIVES Working Papers, 2015(38), 1-30. doi:10.12682/lives.2296-1658.2015.38
PDF icon Article (PDF) (986.92 KB)
Oesch, D. (2015). Welfare regimes and change in the employment structure: Britain, Denmark and Germany since 1990. Journal of European Social Policy, 25(1), 94-110. doi:10.1177/0958928714556972
PDF icon Article (PDF) (575.51 KB)
Baumann, I. (2015). Decreased well-being after job loss: testing omitted causes. LIVES Working Papers, 2015(36), 1-33. doi:10.12682/lives.2296-1658.2015.36
PDF icon Article (PDF) (1.32 MB)
Murphy, E. (2014). Workers' movement out of declining occupations in Great Britain, Germany and Switzerland. European Sociological Review, 30(6), 685-701. doi:10.1093/esr/jcu066
Arni, P., Lalive, R., & van Ours, J. C.. (2013). How effective are unemployment benefit sanctions? Looking beyond unemployment exit. Journal of Applied Econometrics, 28, 1153-1178. doi:10.1002/jae.2289
PDF icon Article (PDF) (265.43 KB)
De Giorgi, G., & Pellizzari, M.. (2013). Understanding social interactions: Evidence from the classroom. The Economic Journal, 124, 917-953. doi:10.1111/ecoj.12083
PDF icon Article (PDF) (343.45 KB)
Bonoli, G. (2014). Employers’ attitudes towards long-term unemployed people and the role of activation in Switzerland. International Journal of Social Welfare, 2014(23), 421-430. doi:10.1111/ijsw.12086
PDF icon Article (PDF) (108.41 KB)
Pellizzari, M., & Fichen, A.. (2013). A new measure of skills mismatch: Theory and evidence from the Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC). OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers, 2013, 1-40. doi:10.1787/5k3tpt04lcnt-en
PDF icon Article (PDF) (760.4 KB)
Docquier, F., Müller, T., & Naval, J.. (2014). Informality and long-run growth. IZA Discussion Paper, 2014(7883), 1-42. Retrieved from
PDF icon Article (PDF) (611.79 KB)
Parrotta, P., Pozzoli, D., & Pytlikova, M.. (2014). Labor diversity and firm productivity. European Economic Review, 2014, 144-179. doi:10.1016/j.euroecorev.2013.12.002
PDF icon Article (PDF) (704.96 KB)
Parrotta, P., Pozzoli, D., & Pytlikova, M.. (2014). The nexus between labor diversity and firm's innovation. Journal of Population Economics, 27, 303-364. doi:10.1007/s00148-013-0491-7
PDF icon Article (PDF) (707.95 KB)
Murphy, E., & Oesch, D.. (2014). The feminization of occupations and wage change: A panel analysis of Britain, Germany and Switzerland. LIVES Working Papers, 2014(31), 1-31. doi:10.12682/lives.2296-1658.2014.31
PDF icon Article (PDF) (1.15 MB)
Hanappi, D. (2013). Precarious Work: Agenda and implications for corporate social responsibility. In S. O. Idowu, Capaldi, N., Zu, L., & Das Gupta, A. (Eds.), Encyclopedia of corporate social responsibility (Vol. Volume 3 (I-R), pp. 1880-1886). Berlin: Springer.
Bonoli, G., & Natali, D. (Eds.). (2012). The politics of the new welfare state. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Oesch, D. (2012). Die Bedeutung von Gesamtarbeitsverträgen für die Arbeitsmarktregulierung in der Schweiz. Zeitschrift für Arbeitsrecht und Arbeitslosenversicherung, 1, 120-127.
PDF icon Article (PDF) (419.42 KB)
Bryson, A., Freeman, R., Lucifora, C., Pellizzari, M., & Pérotin, V.. (2013). Paying for performance: Incentive pay schemes and employees' financial participation. In T. Boeri, Lucifora, C., & Murphy, K. J. (Eds.), Executive remuneration and employee performance-related pay: A transatlantic perspective (pp. 123-278). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Pellizzari, M. (2013). The use of welfare by migrants in Italy. International Journal of Manpower, 34, 155-166. doi:10.1108/01437721311320672
PDF icon Article (PDF) (90.74 KB)
De Giorgi, G., Pellizzari, M., & Woolston, W. G.. (2012). Class size and class heterogeneity. Journal of the European Economic Association, 10(4), 795-830.
PDF icon Article (PDF) (901.61 KB)
Lalive, R., Wüllrich, J. - P., & Zweimüller, J.. (2013). Do financial incentives affect firms’ demand for disabled workers?. Journal of the European Economic Association, 11(1), 25-58. doi:10.1111/j.1542-4774.2012.01109.x
PDF icon Article (PDF) (714.92 KB)
Kyyrä, T., Parrotta, P., & Rosholm, M.. (2013). The effect of receiving supplementary UI benefits on unemployment duration. Labour Economics, 21, 122–133. doi:10.1016/j.labeco.2013.02.002
PDF icon Article (PDF) (338.18 KB)
Oesch, D., & Baumann, I.. (2013). Where do industrial workers go after plant closure? Survey evidence two years after job displacement. LIVES Working Papers, 2013(25), 1-29. doi:10.12682/lives.2296-1658.2013.25
PDF icon Article (PDF) (666.81 KB)
Murphy, E. (2013). Workers’ movement out of declining occupations in Great Britain, Germany and Switzerland. LIVES Working Papers, 2013(21), 1-40. doi:10.12682/lives.2296-1658.2013.21
PDF icon Article (PDF) (4.08 MB)
Marino, M., Parrotta, P., & Pozzoli, D.. (2012). Does labor diversity promote entrepreneurship?. Economics Letters, 116(1), 15-19. doi:10.1016/j.econlet.2012.01.004
PDF icon Article (PDF) (183.71 KB)
Bühlmann, F.. (2012). Configurations of atypical and precarious employment in Switzerland. LIVES Working Papers, 2012(15), 1-35. doi:10.12682/lives.2296-1658.2012.15
PDF icon Article (PDF) (971.92 KB)
Hanappi, D. (2011). Economic action, fields and uncertainty. Journal of Economic Issues, XLV(4), 785-803. doi:10.2753/JEI0021-3624450402
PDF icon Article (PDF) (186.03 KB)
Hanappi, D. (2011). Field, habitus, and economic reason: Prospects of conceptualizing economic action. LIVES Working Papers, 2011(6), 1-20. doi:10.12682/lives.2296-1658.2011.6
PDF icon Article (PDF) (451.33 KB)
Hanappi, D. (2011). An integrative approach to managerial and professional careers in post-industrial labour markets. LIVES Working Papers, 2011(2), 1-28. doi:10.12682/lives.2296-1658.2011.2
PDF icon Article (PDF) (1.1 MB)
Eugster, B., Lalive, R., Steinhauer, A., & Zweimüller, J.. (2011). The demand for social insurance: Does culture matter?. The Economic Journal, 121(556), F413-F448. doi:10.1111/ecoj.2011.121.issue-55610.1111/j.1468-0297.2011.02479.x
PDF icon Article (PDF) (566.01 KB)