Exploring the economic outcomes of young people Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) in England and Wales using the Longitudinal Study

Xun, W., Marshall, C., Lacey, R., Jivraj, S. & Shelton, N. (2018) CALLS Hub conference, University of St Andrews, UK, 23 March 2018 [ONS LS]

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Abstract:

Worklessness at early stages in the life-course may have long-term effects on health status in later life, through the accumulation of socio-economic disadvantage. There is some evidence regarding the shorter-term economic penalties and psychological morbidities that follow, however, the longer-term (decadal scale) consequences in terms of socioeconomic status and health are unclear.

This study follows a representative sample of 1% of the England and Wales (E&W) census population aged 16-24, drawn at 1971 from the Longitudinal Study (ONS LS), and explores how their economic trajectories differ in a 40-year follow-up period by worklessness status at baseline.

Descriptive results suggest that NEETs in the sample went on to have divergent economic outcomes compared with their non-NEET counterparts. Men showed a certain degree of uniformity in economic activity trajectories: a large proportion (35%, n= 11186) of men stayed in employment/studying throughout 50-year study period, while another 16% (n= 5186) did so until age 46-54. Men who started as NEETs at baseline displayed a variety of trajectories, most of which involved shorter stretches of work/study in-between inactive states. Women, on the other hand also started from a majority position of non-NEETs at baseline, showed more diversity which could be interpreted as early and late interruptions in work/study.

Gender-specific multinomial regression was used to explore the time-lag effects of previous economic activity states in determining “current” activities, adjusted using economic activity at 16-24 years, most recent economic activity status, age group, education level, marital status, health status, spouse working status, presence of household member with long-term illness, parental social class at baseline, and ward-level deprivation. The results show that as expected, the most recent economic activity states were highly predictive of “current” states 10 years later; while although the influence from economic activity states at 16-24 weakened over time, it was still informative in predicting inactivity up until mid- life (aged 36 to 44) in both genders.

In conclusion: in a large, representative, historical sample from E&W, worklessness at the age of 16-24 was found to inform economic activity status into mid-life, even after adjusting for the more recent states.

Output from project: 0301616

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