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Living Arrangements in Western Europe: Does Cultural Origin Matter?

  • Paola Giuliano


    (Research Department International Monetary Fund)

Why are there such large differences in living arrangements across Western European countries? Conventional economic analyses have not been successful in explaining differences in living arrangements and particularly the dramatic increase in the fraction of young adults living with their parents in Mediterranean Europe. This paper presents a cultural interpretation. I argue that the sexual revolution of the 1970s – by liberalizing parental attitudes – had a differential impact on living arrangements in Northern and Southern Europe on account of the closer parent-child ties in Southern Europe. Such an explanation can easily explain both the shift in living arrangements over time and also observed North-South differentials. It receives support from data on the living arrangements of second-generation immigrants in the US. Both in 1970 and 2000, by country of origin, the US living arrangements of second-generation immigrants mimic those in Europe across countries; similarly the changes in the US across time by country of origin mimic the European changes. This duplication of the European pattern in a neutral environment, with the same unemployment benefits, the same welfare code and the same macroeconomic conditions suggests a major role for culture in determining living arrangements.

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2005 Meeting Papers with number 189.

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Date of creation: 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:red:sed005:189
Contact details of provider: Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA
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  1. María Dolores Guilló & Antonia Díaz, 2000. "Family Ties And Unemployment," Working Papers. Serie AD 2000-07, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  2. Alessandra Fogli & Raquel Fernandez, 2009. "Culture: An Empirical Investigation of Beliefs, Work, and Fertility," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 146-77, January.
  3. Lawrence F. Katz & Claudia Goldin, 2000. "Career and Marriage in the Age of the Pill," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 461-465, May.
  4. G. C. Giannelli & C. Monfardini, 2000. "Joint Decisions on Household Membership and Human Capital Accumulation of Youths: The role of expected carnings and labour market rationing," Working Papers 375, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  5. Becker, Sascha O. & Bentolila, Samuel & Fernandes, Ana & Ichino, Andrea, 2004. "Job Insecurity and Children’s Emancipation," IZA Discussion Papers 1046, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Marco Manacorda & Enrico Moretti, 2002. "Intergenerational transfers and household structure: why do most Italian youths live with their parents?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20078, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  7. Samuel Bentolila & Andrea Ichino, 2000. "Unemployment and Consumption: Are Job Losses Less Painful near the Mediterranean?," CESifo Working Paper Series 372, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. Carroll, Christopher D & Rhee, Byung-Kun & Rhee, Changyong, 1994. "Are There Cultural Effects on Saving? Some Cross-Sectional Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(3), pages 685-99, August.
  9. Gerda R. Neyer, 2003. "Family policies and low fertility in Western Europe," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2003-021, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  10. repec:fda:fdaeee:14 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Neyer, Gerda, 2003. "Family Policies and Low Fertility in Western Europe," Discussion Paper 161, Center for Intergenerational Studies, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  12. Maite Martínez-Granado & Javier Ruiz-Castillo, 2002. "The decisions of Spanish youth: A cross-section study," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 305-330.
  13. David Card & John DiNardo & Eugena Estes, 1998. "The More Things Change: Immigrants and the Children of Immigrants in the 1940's, the 1970's, and the 1990's," JCPR Working Papers 30, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  14. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L & Katz, Michael L, 1996. "An Analysis of Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing in the United States," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(2), pages 277-317, May.
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