Abstract

Drawing on the embeddedness, varieties of capitalism and macrosociological life course perspectives, we examine how institutional arrangements affect network-based job finding behaviors in the United States and Germany. Analysis of cross-national survey data reveals that informal job matching is highly clustered among specific types of individuals and firms in the United States, whereas it is more ubiquitous in Germany. These differences are linked to (1. loosely regulated and hierarchical employment relations in the United States that facilitate network dominance in specific economic sectors and (2. coordinated market relations, tight employment regulations and extensive social insurance system in Germany that generate opportunities for informal matching but limit the influence of network behavior on employment characteristics. These findings illustrate how social institutions shape access to economic resources through network relations.

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