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Conference Paper Monday Afternoon Seminar Series

Diffusion Models and Premarital Cohabitation: a comparative study

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Publication date

15 May 2006

Abstract

Exploiting the high degree of comparability between the retrospectively collected data from FFSs, this paper analyses the process of the diffusion of cohabitation in six European institutional contexts. It discusses the impact of the diffusion of cohabitation upon fundamental changes in the process of family formation in Sweden, France, West and East Germany, Spain and Italy. The analyses make use of highly dynamic statistical modelling that take into account both changes occurring along individuals' life course (individual biography) and across birth cohorts (generational change) in a comparative perspective. Results show that the level of practice with pre-marital cohabitation has grown unevenly across European countries in the last decades, and that differences are likely to persist in the take up of this new practice. Empirical evidence is also offered, which supports the hypothesis that a diffusion process of this new practice is underway, and that the mechanism driving the change is linked more to peer-examples than to intergenerational transmission in an early stage of the process.

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