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

Laurent Lesnard, OSC-Sciences Po
Anne-Sophie Cousteaux, OSC-Sciences Po
Flora Chanvril, OSC-Sciences Po
Viviane Le Hay, OSC-Sciences Po

This paper compares the timing and sequencing of work-family trajectories of young adults in 20 European countries using data from the European Social Survey (2006). It addresses the question of the convergence of transitions to adulthood in Europe. The life course is derived from five standard events – employment, leaving-home, union formation, marriage, childbearing – retrospectively observed for men and women over 35 years old (N = 26,351), over four cohorts (before 1935, 1935-1944, 1945-1959, 1960-1971). We employ optimal matching and cluster analyses to build a typology of life courses. Multigroup dissimilarity indices and correspondence analysis reveal that the 14 patterns uncovered are correlated with welfare regimes, historical family systems, and cohorts. After a period of convergence in North-Western Europe two new models characterized by an early independence and delayed family formation have emerged. Becoming an adult in Southern and Eastern Europe remains marked by their respective historical family systems.

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Presented in Poster Session 5