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The reciprocal relationship between the state and union formation across Western Europe: policy dimensions and theoretical considerations

Author

Listed:
  • Brienna Perelli-Harris

    (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)

  • Nora E. Sánchez Gassen

    (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)

Abstract

Although cohabitation and childbearing within cohabitation has increased dramatically in Europe over the past decades, the variation across Europe remains remarkable. Most studies on changing union formation have not explicitly addressed how state policies may be facilitating cohabitation or, alternatively, stalling the increase of cohabitation by privileging marriage. Indeed, the relationship between policies and union formation is complicated, as states may have passed legislation in response to increasing cohabitation. As a first step to understanding this reciprocal relationship, we provide here an overview of the policies that may impact union formation. Drawing on secondary sources and legal documents, we describe the policy dimensions that regulate the relationship between couples, and between couples and their children. We also discuss theoretical issues and explore examples from across Western Europe. As a whole, this overview raises questions about the changing “institution” of marriage, as well as the increasing “institutionalization” of cohabitation.

Suggested Citation

  • Brienna Perelli-Harris & Nora E. Sánchez Gassen, 2010. "The reciprocal relationship between the state and union formation across Western Europe: policy dimensions and theoretical considerations," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2010-034, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2010-034
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    File URL: http://www.demogr.mpg.de/papers/working/wp-2010-034.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ron Lesthaeghe, 2010. "The Unfolding Story of the Second Demographic Transition," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 36(2), pages 211-251.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sebastian Klüsener & Brienna Perelli-Harris & Nora E. Sánchez Gassen, 2012. "Spatial aspects of the rise of nonmarital fertility across Europe since 1960: the role of states and regions in shaping patterns of change," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2012-005, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    2. Michaela Kreyenfeld & Valerie Martin, 2011. "Economic conditions of stepfamilies from a cross-national perspective," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2011-010, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Europe; cohabitation;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General

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