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Clarion Congress & Hotel, Cosmos 3D


Wojciech Knieć

Rural Sociology Section

Institute of Sociology

Nicolaus Copernicus University, Toruń, Poland


Topic: Persistence of high and long-term unemployment on developed rural areas as a result of informal economy and unfair labor practices. The case study from Kuyavian rural communites in Central Poland.

Keywords: Long-term unemployment, structural unemployment, unfair labor, employment disadvantages, rural “moonlight economy’


In recent 10 years unemployment rate in Poland dropped from 21% to 4-6%, when rural unemployment decreased from appx. 25-30% to 7-10%. At the same time some rural communities still face persisting high unemployment (above 15%) , being excluded from this positive trend. What is the most interesting – in many cases these communities are of high infrastructure standards, well developed public services and present economic prosperity. In this paper I will discuss structural, institutional and processual nature of this phenomenon and will try to present its possible explanations. Main assumption is that persisting rural unemployment is no longer a result of economical and social breakdown, but it’s rather rooted in brand new cultural aspects of rural communities’ life.  It is a kind of the game with social security system and informal economy, that is played by rural families. It is also an adaptation strategy with regard to growing  immigration of cheap labor force from the East. Another explanation is connected with high level of unfair labor practices of rural and small-town companies in contemporary Poland. The paper is based on the field research carried out in 2017 and 2018 in 6 rural communities of Kuyavia Region, Central Poland (98 IDI’s and 6 FGI’s).

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