Patterns of labour market integration in Europe - A life course perspective on time policies

Dominique Anxo, Colette Fagan, Inmaculada Cebrian, Gloria Moreno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article examines the patterns of labour market integration over the life course of men and women in seven European countries. We select a range of household categories coinciding with different phases in the life course and use the European Community Household Panel survey to identify four broad national models, which are associated with different state regimes with regards to 'time policy'. These are the Nordic 'universal breadwinner' model (Sweden) of high participation involving long part-time or full-time hours and high employment continuity for both sexes over the life course; the 'modified breadwinner' model (France) where family formation and motherhood are still associated with withdrawal from the labour market for some groups of women and where mothers who are employed work predominantly full-time; the Mediterranean 'exit or full-time' model (Italy and Spain) where fewer women are employed, but when employed generally work full-time; finally different models of 'Maternal part-time work' (Dutch, German and UK) where motherhood is associated with a reduction in the employment rate that is less than that found in the Mediterranean countries and in France, but where part-time hours are the norm for mothers, even when children are older. We conclude that the Nordic model features the least pronounced gender inequality in time allocation to employment over the life course combined with a greater level of 'active ageing' of older workers. This profile is supported by a coherent and integrated set of policies for time and income management over the life course in contrast to the more piecemeal measures that exist in other national models. Hence, the Nordic model offers important insights for EU employment policy. © 2007 Oxford University Press.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-260
Number of pages27
JournalSocio-Economic Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2007


  • Europe
  • Gender inequality
  • Household behavior
  • Labor supply


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