Precarious work, "harmonizing down" and economic anxiety: Implications for citizenship and society

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McKnight, Zoe Amanda




This paper examines precarious work, its historical origins and certain social consequences. I use the 2015 Canadian Election Study to analyze the relationship between work-related insecurity and economic anxiety with voting, non-voting political behaviour and attitudes toward equity-seeking groups. I propose a theory of "harmonizing down", in which workers who were once able to access the benefits and status of the standard employment relationship have generally seen their opportunities for stable and secure work decline. This has resulted in economic anxiety for most workers. Results were mixed, suggesting that broad generalizations around economic anxiety are problematic. Insecurity and anxiety may reduce the likelihood of voting but may increase non-voting participation. Some aspects of insecurity and anxiety were related to negative attitudes toward equity-seeking groups, but the relationship is not clear. Gender and political party identity influence these attitudes.


Political Science
Industrial and Labor Relations




Carleton University

Thesis Degree Name: 

Master of Arts: 

Thesis Degree Level: 


Thesis Degree Discipline: 

Political Economy

Parent Collection: 

Theses and Dissertations

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