Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2463

Article | Open Access

Young People's Perceptions of Youth Unemployment: Insights From 11 European Countries

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Abstract:  Youth unemployment has been an issue in European countries for many years. However, the attention paid to it by policymakers has varied over time, and there are high cross-country variations in both the size of the phenomenon, representations of it, and policy interventions. This study adds an intra-country component to the country-comparative dimension and assesses the factors affecting how young adults perceive youth unemployment. From a theoretical perspective, we postulate that the perception of youth unemployment as an issue depends on both sociotropic and egocentric evaluations. To address these research questions, we analyse data from the Cultural Pathways to Economic Self-Sufficiency (CUPESSE) dataset, which comprises responses from more than 20,000 young adults (aged 18–35) from 11 European countries (nine European Union member states together with Switzerland and Turkey). The empirical analysis is based on multilevel modelling and reveals that the problem perception varies both across countries and within them following the hypothesised pattern. The findings show that two factors are particularly important for explaining young people’s perception of youth unemployment as a problem: first, whether they experienced their parents being unemployed when growing up, and second, whether their friends are unemployed.

Keywords:  European Union; NEETs; rural areas; urban areas; youth unemployment


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© Claudia Petrescu, Jale Tosun, Bogdan Voicu. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.