Living Arrangements in Western Europe: Does Cultural Origin Matter?

42 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2006

See all articles by Paola Giuliano

Paola Giuliano

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Anderson School of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: March 2006

Abstract

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.

Keywords: culture, living arrangements, immigrants, family

JEL Classification: D1, J1, Z13

Suggested Citation

Giuliano, Paola, Living Arrangements in Western Europe: Does Cultural Origin Matter? (March 2006). IZA Discussion Paper No. 2042. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=894038 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.894038

Paola Giuliano (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Anderson School of Management ( email )

110 Westwood Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1481
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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