Helena Laaksonen
Young Adults in Changing Welfare States: Prolonged Transitions and Delayed Entries for Under-30s in Finland, Sweden and Germany in the '90s

Mannheimer Zentrum für Europäische Sozialforschung: Arbeitspapiere; 12
ISSN: 1437-8574

The paper compares young adults' position in the '90s in three European welfare states: Finland, Sweden and Germany. Finland and Sweden, which represent the Nordic welfare state model, experienced deep recession at the beginning of the decade. This caused high youth unemployment and low labour force participation compared to the earlier decade, when the model aimed at inclusion of all citizens in the labour market. In Germany, which represents the Central-European model of welfare, the reunification process caused the main problems. In all three countries, most of the under-20s are kept in the education system, and the participation in education in the under-25 age group has also risen. The countries' policies intensify the pushing effect of the labour market. During the '90s Finland and Sweden have prioritised education as a means of dealing with unemployment. The systems differ as expected in their ways of supporting young people in the transition to adulthood. In Finland and Sweden the measures are more individual, whereas in Germany the emphasis is on the parental family's ability to support their youngsters. When that fails, the support is often given to the family rather than the young person him/herself. However, in Finland and Sweden, the new policies also tend to place more emphasis on the family's responsibility.