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Unstable Careers and Family Formation in Different Institutional Contexts

The aim of the project is to study the link between de-standardisation of work patterns and family formation (i.e. leaving home, forming a partnership, having children). In particular, we are interested in detecting under which conditions atypical work contracts and de-standardisation of work patterns facilitate or hinder the reconciliation of paid work and family life. In order to explore this particular relationship between family and labour market, the following specific areas are studied: i) national and regional labour market characteristics (such as diffusion of temporary jobs, unemployment, availability of flexible working arrangements); ii) national and regional patterns in family formation (such as partnership formation, fertility behaviour, childbearing and parenthood); and, iii) national and regional social policies (such as childcare services, maternity and parental leaves, housing policies).
The research focuses especially on Southern European countries, although Continental and Northern European countries are taken as contrasting case. Data are also explored at the national and sub-national level, since constraints and opportunities widely differ according to the national and local context (e.g. labour market regulation, family patterns, reconciliation policies, family networks and so on). Thus, the project draws upon cross-national, national, and local surveys to assess whether cross-country and cross-region institutional variations lead to differences in family formation, and in solutions to work/life tensions over individuals’ the life course.