Inequality in social capital and labour market re-entry among unemployed people in Switzerland

TitreInequality in social capital and labour market re-entry among unemployed people in Switzerland
Type de publicationJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuteursBonoli, G, Turtschi, N
JournalResearch in Social Stratification and Mobility
Mots-clésinequality, social capital, social newtorks, unemployment

Research on social capital inequality has tended to emphasise the fact that the distribution of social capital follows that of other resources, with the result that it tends to amplify social inequalities. More elaborated theoretical accounts and some empirical studies suggest, however, that under some circumstances, social capital can actually compensate for disadvantage in social position. In this paper we test these competing hypotheses on a population of newly unemployed people in the Swiss canton of Vaud (N = 3521). It appears that in most cases the distribution of social capital reflects that of other dimensions of stratification that are associated with labour market disadvantage, such as education, immigrant status, gender, and occupational status. On one important component of social capital, the number of work-related contacts, some immigrant groups score better than Swiss nationals. While this is an important predictor of early exit from unemployment, it fails to translate into an improvement of labour market prospects for the relevant immigrant groups, most likely because its effect is counteracted by more powerful forces such as inequality in skills and discrimination.

Refereed DesignationRefereed