MPIDR Working Paper
Convergence towards diversity? Cohort dynamics in the transition to adulthood in contemporary Western Europe
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2001-039, 30 pages.
Rostock, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (December 2001)
This paper addresses the transition to adulthood in developed countries. It reviews the main theories that have been employed in recent years to explain trends in such variables as age ages at leaving home, union formation, first marriage and first birth. The paper then examines the median ages at which women in nine European countries experienced these events and the inter-quartile range within each cohort. The results do not provide unequivocal support for any of the main theories. In conclusion we offer some speculative remarks on what form an alternative theory might take.