Life Course Regimes in Europe

Individual Employment Histories in Comparative and Historical Perspective

Abstract
This study develops an empirically based typology of life course regimes using data on life histories of individuals in 14 European countries from the third wave of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARELIFE). The concept of life course policy serves as a theoretical basis to describe the impact of welfare state regime differences and long-term historical developments on the structure of individual employment histories. Sequence and cluster analysis are applied to generate aggregate life course indicators for the degree of labour market inclusion, the degree of career volatility, and the heterogeneity of employment histories. The resulting life course regime typology is only partly consistent with commonly applied welfare state typologies. Contrary to these, the life course regime typology also reflects long-term economic and political developments in the countries under examination. Large variation exists within the ‘Conservative’ and the ‘Post-Socialist’ welfare state types with regard to the standardization and gender inequality of careers.

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