• Home
  • Issues
  • 2016
  • No 2
  • Precarity and professional identity in the context of institutional change


TERRA ECONOMICUS, , Vol. 14 (no. 2),

Precarity has become a significant feature of our society. This paper focuses on the problem of precariatization from an institutional perspective which emphasizes factors of institutional transformation, technological change and influence of regulative mechanisms. Education is viewed as the important institution affecting labour market. Increased duration of education is a sign of modern social orders. In developed countries, higher education is becoming increasingly accessible to the majority of young people; as a result, a shift occurs from its professional orientation towards general cultural training. Disequilibrium, or redundancy of young people with higher education in the labour market, cannot be investigated irrespective of the social context – first of all, processes of socialization and building of civil society. Institutions are inertial by its very nature, and this inertia is much more strong than those immanent to the regulation mechanisms. As a result, an asynchrony takes place between institutional change and change in regulation mechanisms. This asynchrony can be viewed from the Veblen’s dichotomy perspective. New quality of institutions, along with their non-complementarity to the regulation mechanisms, have much to do with the instability and lack of social guarantees which are the features of precariat as the new modern social class. The response of society to the swift changes that take place in material and social technologies is addressed in the context of the new Luddites movement. Rapid institutional changes are discussed in the context of professional identity, emergence of new professions and forms of employment. “The trap of precarity” could become further resistant to change and hard to break away from, due to misalignment between the employees’ expectations and perceptions regarding their career prospects, on the one hand, and existing regulative mechanisms and social technologies, on the other hand.

Keywords: precariat; institutions; institutional change; regulation mechanisms; professional identity

  • Goliusova Yu.V. and Fengliang Lee (2015). Socio-economic consequences of excessive education in China and Russia. Reforming Russia [Rossiya reformiruyushchayasya], issue 13: Annual. Moscow: Novyi khronograf Publ., pp. 270–286. (In Russian.)
  • Gubailovskyi V. (2004). WWW-review of Vladimir Gubailovskyi. “Vandals of cloaca”. New World [Novyi mir], no. 1 (http://magazines.russ.ru/novyi_mi/2004/1/ww19.html). (In Russian.)
  • Hayek F. (1989). Competition as a discovery procedure. World Economy and International Affaira [Mirovaya ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya], no. 12, pp. 6–14. (In Russian.)
  • Krugman P. (2009). The Conscience of a Liberal. Moscow: Europe Publ. (In Russian.)
  • North D. (1993). Institutions and economic growth: An historical introduction. THESIS, vol. 1, issue 2. (In Russian.)
  • North D. (2010). Understanding the process of economic change. Moscow: Higher School of Economics Publ. (In Russian.)
  • Piketti Т. (2015). Capital in XXI century. Moscow: Ad Marginem Press. (In Russian.)
  • Polanyi К. (2002). The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time. Saint-Petersburg: Aleteya Publ. (In Russian.)
  • Posukhova О.Yu. (2015a). Professional career in modern Russia. Rostv-on-Don: Fund of Science and Education Publ. (In Russian.)
  • Posukhova О.Yu. (2015b). Categorization of professional careers in the context of phenomenological interpretation of social reality. Herald of Adygeya State University. Series 1: Regional studies: philosophy, history, sociology, law, political and cultural sciences, no. 3. (In Russian.)
  • Shkaratan О.I., Karacharovskiy V.V. and Gasyukova Е.N. (2015). Precariat: theory and empirical analysis (based on the results of the surveys conducted in Russia, 1994–2013). Sociological Studies, no. 12, pp. 99–110. (In Russian.)
  • Standing G. (2014). Precariat: a new dangerous class. Moscow: Ad Marginem Press. (In Russian.)
  • Veblen Т. (1984). The theory of the leisure class. Moscow: Progress Publ. (In Russian.)
  • Veblen Т. (2007). Theory of business enterprise. Moscow: Delo Publ. (In Russian.)
  • Vermeulen F. (2012). Business as a target in the sight of a gun. Naked truth about what is really going on in the business world. Moscow: Pretekst Publ. (In Russian.)
  • Volchik V.V. (2008). Postindustrial economy institutions evolution in context of Veblen’s dichotomy. Terra Economicus, vol. 6, no. 2. (In Russian.)
  • Volchik V.V. (2014). Institutional change, collective action and social values. Research papers of the Donetsk National Technical University. Economic series, no. 1, pp. 80–89. (In Russian.)
  • Volchik V.V. and Kot V.V. (2013). Institutional change in the context of economic orders modernization. Journal of Institutional Studies, vol. 5, no. 4, pp. 38–53. (In Russian).
  • Volchik V.V., Filonenko Yu.V. and Krivosheeva-Medyantseva D.D. (2015). Adaptive rationality, adaptive behavior and institutions. Journal of Institutional Studies, vol. 7, no. 4 (http://hjournal.ru/files/JIS_7_4/JIS_7.4_7.pdf). (In Russian.)
  • Volchik V.V., Zotova Т.А., Filonenko Yu.V., Fursa E.V. and Krivosheeva-Medyantseva D.D. (2015). Identifying a framework of institutional change in the field of higher education in Russia. Journal of Economic Regulation, vol. 6, no. 2, doi: 10.17835/2078-5429.2015.6.2.114-131. (In Russian.)
  • Yefimov V.M. (2016). Economic science in question: another methodology, history and research practices. Moscow: KURS: INFRA-M Publ., 352 p. (http://znanium.com/bookread2.php?book=524412). (In Russian.)
  • Arthur W.B. (1994). Increasing Returns and Path Dependence in the Economy. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.
  • Ayres C.E. (1978). The Theory of Economic Progress. Kalamazoo, Mich.: New Issues Press.
  • Brousseau E., Garrouste P. and Raynaud E. (2011). Institutional changes: Alternative theories and consequences for institutional design. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, vol. 79, no. 1, pp. 3–19.
  • Bush P.D. (1987). The theory of institutional change. Journal of Economic issues, vol. 21, no. 3, pp. 1075–1116.
  • David P.A. (1985). Clio and the Economics of QWERTY. American Economic Review, vol. 75, no. 2.
  • Della Porta D., Hänninen S., Siisiäinen M. and Silvasti T. (2015). The Precarization Effect / In: Della Porta D., Silvasti T., Hänninen S. and Siisiäinen M. (eds.) The New Social Division: Making and Unmaking Precariousness. UK: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 1–23.
  • Eggertsson T. (2009). Knowledge and the theory of institutional change. Journal of Institutional Economics, vol. 5, issue 02, pp. 137–150.
  • Ellison G. and Fudenberg D. (2000). The neo-Luddite’s lament: excessive upgrades in the software industry. RAND Journal of Economics, vol. 31, no. 2.
  • Eriksen T.H. (2001). Tyranny of the moment: Fast and slow time in the information age. Pluto Press.
  • Frobish T.S. (2002). Neo-Luddites and Their Rhetorical Paradox. Peace Review, vol. 14, issue 2.
  • Hansen B.A. and Hansen M.E. (2007). The role of path dependence in the development of US bankruptcy law, 1880–1938. Journal of Institutional Economics, vol. 3, issue 2, pp. 203–225, doi: 10.1017/S174413740700063X.
  • Hielscher S., Pies I. and Valentinov V. (2012). How to foster social progress: an ordonomic perspective on progressive institutional change. Journal of Economic Issues, vol. 46, issue 3, pp. 779–798.
  • Jones S.E. (2006). Against technology: from the Luddites to neo-Luddism. N.- Y.
  • Kingston C. and Caballero G. (2009). Comparing theories of institutional change. Journal of Institutional Economics, vol. 5, issue 02, pp. 151–180.
  • Langlois R.N. (2016). Institutions for getting out of the way. Journal of Institutional Economics, vol. 12, issue 01, pp. 53–61, doi: 10.1017/S1744137415000375.
  • Levy F. and Temin P. (2007). Inequality and Institutions in 20th Century America. NBER Working Paper, no. 13106, doi: 10.3386/w13106.
  • Maslov A. and Volchik V. (2014). Institutions and Lagging Development: The Case of the Don Army Region. Journal of Economic Issues, vol. 48, issue (3), pp. 727–742, doi: 10.2753/JEI0021-3624480307.
  • McCloskey D.N. (2016). Max U versus Humanomics: a critique of neo-institutionalism. Journal of Institutional Economics, vol. 12, issue 01, pp. 1–27.
  • Melin H. and Blom R. (2015). Precarity in Different Worlds of Social Classes / In: Della Porta D., Silvasti T., Hänninen S. and Siisiäinen M. (eds.) The New Social Division: Making and Unmaking Precariousness. UK: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 27–42.
  • Mwangi E. (2006). The footprints of history: path dependence in the transformation of property rights in Kenya’s Maasailand. Journal of Institutional Economics, vol. 2, issue 2, pp. 157–180, doi: 10.1017/S1744137406000324.
  • Nelson R.R. (2002). Bringing institutions into evolutionary growth theory. Journal of Evolutionary Economics, vol. 12, issue 1, pp. 17–28.
  • North D.C. (1990). Institutions, institutional change and economic performance. Cambridge University Press.
  • Pemberton J.M. (1997). Confronting the big lie: A neo-luddite manifesto. Information Management, vol. 31, no. 1, pp. 56–61.
  • Randali A. (1991). Before the Luddites: Custom, Community and Machinery in the English Woollen Industry, 1776–1809. N.-Y.: Cambridge University Press.
  • Tan E.S. (2005). Ideology, interest groups, and institutional change: the case of the British prohibition of wages in kind. Journal of Institutional Economics, vol. 1, issue 02, pp. 175–191, doi: 10.1017/S1744137405000135.
  • Wisman J.D. and Smith J.F. (1999). American Institutionalism on Technological Change. Journal of Economic Issues, vol. 33, no. 4.
  • Zanden van J.L., Baten J., d’Ercole M.M., Rijpma A., Smith C. and Timmer M. et al. (eds.) (2014). How Was Life? Global Well-being since 1820. Paris: OECD Publishing (http://adapt.it/englishbulletin/wp/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/oecd_2_10_2014.pdf).
Publisher: Southern Federal University
Founder: Southern Federal University
ISSN: 2073-6606