This paper looks at whether the work and family lives of people living in Europe became more unstable across the 20th century.
It finds that family and work lives have become more unstable and unpredictable, but not nearly to the extent thought by scholars and the general public alike. However, there were large differences between countries, and that this was largely related to the country context including welfare regime and culture.
The research spans 30 countries and 50 birth cohorts. Although the findings showed a small increase in complexity in people’s lives over time especially for the very youngest cohorts, the main increases were related to the country where people lived.
The researchers say it’s not possible to conclude that there are universal driving forces underlying this trend and that it’s possible that global economic developments and less employment security in many countries play a role in this increase.
They add that disentangling the country contexts and the combined effects of different institutional policies and cultures on life course complexity cross-national comparisons certainly seem to help paint a more nuanced picture.
Read more about this in a blog post by Zachary Van Winkle!