After the Second World War, Belgium – as other Western countries – welcomed a large amount of immigrant workers. These post-war immigration waves of mainly Italian, Turkish and Moroccan ‘guest workers’ are now retiring in large numbers. As various studies have focused on the (inferior) labour market position of these immigrants, one could expect these immigrants to be especially vulnerable later in life. So far, however, no information is available on their financial situation at old age. This paper will therefore analyse differences in poverty risks between immigrants and non-immigrants as well as between different groups of immigrants. The first aim of this paper is to describe the poverty incidence among elderly immigrants. The second aim is to examine the effect of the intermediate mechanisms, mentioned above, that link ethnicity to poverty. Our final goal is to investigate whether the indicators that have shown to protect non-immigrants against poverty are similar for immigrants. For this investigation, we make use of an administrative data set of 93.657 people (of which almost 20.000 with migration background) 65 years and older in 2008 and living in Belgium.
Keywords: immigrants, pensions, poverty, labour market career, household Composition
After the Second World War, Belgium – along with other Western countries – welcomed a large number of immigrant workers to primarily help man the coal industry. Today, these post-war immigration waves of mainly Italian, Turkish and Moroccan ‘guest workers’ are retiring in large numbers. However, despite the strong research tradition on poverty risk of non-immigrant elderly in Belgium, little is known about the poverty risk of elderly immigrants as research on differences in poverty between ethnicities remains scarce, especially when compared to the abundant Anglo-Saxon research literature. Different aspects are believed to influence old-age poverty risk. As pensions are the most important income source in later life (Choi, 2006), the level of pension benefits very likely determines poverty risk. Indirectly then, poverty will be influenced by former labour market patterns and family trajectories, the main determinants of pension benefits in Belgium (Peeters, De Tavernier & Berghman, 2013).
Socio-economic studies have been reporting on the rapid growth of temporary employment and on its problematic nature in terms of low pay, limited access to fringe benefits, and limited union protection (Kalleberg, Reskin, and Hudson, 2000; Korpi and Levin, 2001). Temporary employment refers to dependent jobs of limited duration, with fixed-term employment contracts and temporary agency work being the most common contract types in Europe (OECD, 2002). With this evolution in the foreground, a major theme among work and organizational psychologists concerns the impact of temporary employment arrangements on employees’ well-being, attitudes, and behavior. The possible benevolent or detrimental consequences of temporary employment as compared to permanent employment are still hotly debated. Results until now have been inconclusive (Connelly and Gallagher, 2004; De Cuyper, De Witte, and Isaksson, 2005; Guest, 2004). While this has encouraged studies to explore the differences between permanent and temporary workers, the mixed evidence has resulted in a lack of theoretically informed studies (Davis-Blake and Uzzi, 1993). Hence, our understanding of the psychological impact of temporary employment and its underlying processes remains limited.
In this chapter, we formulate a theory that may respond to this lacuna. We draw upon psychological contract literature to interpret the inconsistent findings of contract type as found in previous research. Furthermore, we illustrate the possible implications of this theory for the experience and impact of job insecurity and employability.
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