Dual Embeddedness and Institutional Transference: Network-based Job Finding and Macro-Institutional Dynamics in Germany and the United States

Steve McDonald, North Carolina State University - Department of Sociology
This project explores how differences in institutional context (across space and time) impact social relations, with a specific focus on network-based job finding behavior--finding jobs through personal contacts. First, cross-national survey data are used to explore differences in job finding in the United States and Germany. In the U.S., loosely regulated and hierarchical employment relations lead to extensive patterning of informal (networked) hiring across social groups, as well as network dominance in specific economic sectors. In Germany, informal hiring is more common but also more randomly distributed across individuals and jobs, due to presence of coordinated market relations, tight employment regulations, and an extensive social insurance system. Second, the study examines how the institutional transformation that accompanied the transition from state socialism to capitalism in East Germany influenced network-based job finding. The transference of economic institutions from West Germany to East Germany in the early 1990s led to a rapid decline in informal hiring in the East and a convergence in job finding behaviors across the two regions. The results show how the institutional environment can shape network relations and transform job mobility regimes.
February, 21 2012 | 12:00 PM - | Duke University - 329 Soc/Psych (McKinney Rm)

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