In the case of the labour market the distribution of resources is based on competition and individual performance. The welfare states’ redistribution is focused at solidarity between citizens. In the case of the family the principle is reciprocity and an informal contract between family members concerning responsibilities for the welfare of family members. There is a contract between spouses, between parents and their children, between adults and their elderly parents, and between adults and further relatives. The large variation in Europe in the appearance of families reflects substantial diversity of obligations and informal rights of family members. What can adult children expect from their parents, elderly from their midaged children, and where are the limits of responsibility between spouses concerning economic and caring features? This variation of family obligations is also reflected in legislation, delineating responsibilities between the welfare state and the family.
KeywordsLabour Market Welfare State Nordic Country Coping Behaviour Family Formation
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- 1.Employment rates are given in percent and fertility rates as average children born per annum for each age year in the interval 25–29 years. Source: New Chronos.Google Scholar
- 2.Data for 1970 is incomplete.Google Scholar
- 3.The index gives the average ranking of the 15 nations according to the following indicators: 1. the national average household size, 2. the percentage of single adults in the age of 30–64 years, i.e. after the family formation period, and before mortality affects the outcome (we are here primarily concerned with the propensity to stay single), 3. the percentage of adults living in a consensual union, 4. the percentage of young adults under the age of 30 still living with their parents, 5. the percentage women aged 70–84 living with their mid-age children (30+).Google Scholar