Keywords: inactivity, long run consequences of unemployment/non employment.
This study proposes a new approach to the analysis of long-term non-employment and its duration in Germany, Italy and Spain using administrative longitudinal databases. The non-employed are people in working age who have had spells of regular employment at the beginning of their careers, were laid off and become unemployed, but no longer succeed to regain a job in the official economy. For many non-employment turns out to be a lifetime condition. The number of the long-term non-employed (LTNE) is of the same order of magnitude as official unemployment. Its duration may reach 25-30 years. LTNE has drawn almost no attention in the academic literature although its long run consequences imply dramatic changes in individual lifestyles, family and childbearing projects, levels of poverty and welfare at large