Understanding NEETS. Individual and Institutional Determinants of Youth Inactivity in France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, and the UK


International coordinated research project within the Open Research Area Progamme (ORA)

The project investigates the socio-economic situation of young people not in employment, education or training (NEET) by comparing France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. This particular group increases in industrialised countries and is strongly affected by exclusion and marginalisation because problematic labour market entries have sustainable effects on later employment careers or life courses in general. There’s a huge variation between countries with respect to the composition of this group, their individual employment trajectories, the relevant institutional factors and policy measures. This project aims at describing characteristics of NEET youth and at investigating relevant institutional factors. Also consequences for the later life course will be analysed in a country comparison. We also turn a special attention toward measures of active labour market policy and its effects regarding tackling the consequences of NEET.

The German subproject is mainly focussed on the role of the German vocational education system and of prevocational measures and its connection to NEET youths. Germany is particularly interesting because its education system is highly stratified and strongly gendered as a result of gendered school-based vocational education. The National Education Panel Study (NEPS) provides the perfect opportunity to answer the project questions. The following main questions are leading for the German subproject: 1. Are there certain patterns of NEET and gender differences in NEET? 2. Is any participation in education better than NEET? 3. Does apprenticeship postpone or prevent NEET?

The consortium consists of sociologists and economists in the countries France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. In addition, there is a counselling advisory board with policy practitioners and experts from the field, which reflects on the project results and takes care about practicability. The German project team is located at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center (leader: Prof. Heike Solga). Project researcher is Dr Christian Brzinsky-Fay. The project starts in June 2016 and ends in May 2019.


Brzinsky-Fay, Christian (2019): Anachronismus oder Erfolgsmodell. Die duale Berufsausbildung im 21. Jahrhundert. WZBrief Bildung 39/April 2019. Berlin: WZB.

Levels, Mark / Brzinsky-Fay, Christian / Holmes, Craig / Jongbloed, Janine / Taki, Hirofumi (Hrsg.) (accepted): Young People Not in Employment, Education or Training during the Great Recession: Institutional Explanations for CrossNational Differences, Routledge, London.

Research fields

Education and Training
funded by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)

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Abteilung „Ausbildung und Arbeitsmarkt“ (Direktorin: Prof. Dr. Heike Solga)

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