Leaving the Parental Home in Europe: Cultural Micro Foundations of Welfare Systems
Department of Social and Political Sciences European University Institute San Domenico di Fiesole, Italy
Recent years have seen an increasing scholarly interest in explaining why young Northern Europeans leave their parental home earlier than their Southern European counterparts. Many studies explain this variation with changes in the labour and housing markets, and the absence of state support for young people. In the South, these mechanisms encourage the young to postpone the departure from the home. Conversely, in the North young adults have more favourable opportunities to start their own households. Some scholars, however, focus on long-term cultural patterns of home-leaving and diverse social norms. This paper aims at integrating economic and cultural arguments in one institutionalist framework. Building on Fernand Braudel's idea of different time levels describing social change and continuity, this analysis merges the findings from adjacent fields of research on welfare states, family care, educational systems and historical demography. Additionally, the analysis is enriched with recent findings from the Eurostudent Survey and the European Social Survey. The results reveal that the patterns of spatial (im)mobility of young people are an essential component of welfare regimes with clear implications for the family-centred welfare system in the South and the strong welfare state in the North of Europe.