University of Southern Denmark

Department of Politcal Science

The political behaviour of temporary workers

Research project funded by the Carlsberg Foundation (150,000 EUR) from January 2013 until December 2014

Do workers on temporary contracts differ in their political preferences from workers on permanent contracts? In many European countries temporary work has been deregulated over the past decades and now around 14 % of the employees in the EU work on contracts with a limited duration. For affected workers, this implies the constant risk of job loss and recurrent spells of unemployment may be the consequence. At the same time political protests, the emergence of populist parties and other signs of disenchantment with mainstream politics have raised public concerns about the political integration of citizens with weak labour market attachments, particularly among the young. The project addresses these concerns by studying the political integration of temporary workers. Research across academic disciplines has documented detrimental effects of temporary employment on a range of socio-economic and psychological outcomes, but we still know strikingly little about its effects on political attitudes and behaviour.


The project combines insights from psychology, political behaviour and labour market research in innovative ways to enhance our knowledge about the political effects of temporary work. The main research questions are: do temporary workers blame political parties for their perceived disadvantage and, if yes, how does that affect upon their party preferences and voting behaviour? Do such workers turn toward anti-system parties (such as the radical right) or to the populist left? Or do they tend to abstain from voting?




Related publications


Marx, P. (2016) 'The Insider-Outsider Divide and Economic Voting. Testing a New Theory with German Electoral Data', Socio-Economic Review, 14(1), 97-118.


Marx, P. (2015) The Political Behaviour of Temporary Workers. Palgrave Macmillan.


Emmenegger, P., Marx, P. & Schraff, D. (2015) 'Labour Market Disadvantage, Political Orientations and Voting: How Adverse Labour Market Experiences Translate into Electoral Behaviour', Socio-Economic Review, 13(2), 189-213.


Marx, P. (2014) 'The Effect of Job Insecurity and Employability on Preferences for Redistribution in Western Europe', Journal of European Social Policy, 24(4), 351-366.


Guillaud, E. & Marx, P. (2014) 'Preferences for Employment Protection and the Insider-Outsider Divide: Evidence from France', West European Politics, 37(5), 1177-1185.


Marx, P. (2014) 'Labour Market Risks and Political Preferences: The Case of Temporary Employment',  European Journal of Political Research, 53(1), 136–159.


Marx, P. & Picot, G. (2014) 'Labour Market Policies and Party Preferences of Fixed-term Workers', in: Kumlin, S. & Stadelmann-Steffen, I. (eds.), How Welfare States Shape the Democratic Public: Policy Feedback, Participation, Voting, and Attitudes. Edward Elgar, 113-131.


Marx, P. & Picot, G. (2013) 'The Party Preferences of Atypical Workers in Germany', Journal of European Social Policy, 23(2), 164-178.