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Do Transitions to Adulthood Converge in Europe? An Optimal Matching Analysis of Work-Family Trajectories of Young Adults from 20 European Countries

Abstract : This paper compares the timing and sequencing of work-family trajectories of young adults in 20 European countries using data from the third round of the European Social Survey (2006). It addresses the question of the convergence of transitions to adulthood in Europe. The life course is derived here from five standard events – employment, leaving-home, union formation, marriage and childbearing – retrospectively observed for men and women over 35 years old (N = 26,351), over four birth cohorts (before 1935, 1935-1944, 1945-1959, and 1960-1971). We employ entropy and turbulence indicators to measure convergence and to go further, we use optimal matching and cluster analyses to build an empirical typology of the transitions to adulthood in Europe. Multigroup information theory indices and correspondence analysis reveal that these patterns are highly correlated with welfare regimes, historical family systems, and cohorts. We observe that although there was a convergence in the passage to adulthood in Northern and Western Europe following the post-war boom era, two new models have emerged with the youngest cohort that are characterised by an early independence from the family of orientation and more or less delayed couple formation and childbearing. The transition to adulthood in Southern and Eastern Europe remains marked by their respective historical family systems. Whereas the departure from the parental home is late and usually linked to couple formation in Southern Europe, the tradition of joint households is still pervasive in Eastern Europe.
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Laurent Lesnard, Anne-Sophie Cousteaux, Flora Chanvril, Viviane Le Hay. Do Transitions to Adulthood Converge in Europe? An Optimal Matching Analysis of Work-Family Trajectories of Young Adults from 20 European Countries. 2010. ⟨hal-03460098⟩

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