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Contingent High-Skilled Work and Flexible Labor Markets. Creative Workers and Independent Contractors Cycling Between Employment and Unemployment

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Flexibility in highly skilled jobs combines the characteristics of the secondary and the professional labor market, which oblige to revise the separation between salaried work and self-employment. Two cases are studied: the employment system of artists and technical workers in the performing arts and the work of independent contractors mediated by umbrella firms. An analysis of the French labor market shows how “flexicurity” may work, but also how its books may get unbalanced, as employers learn to make strategic use of unemployment insurance.