Social Indicators Research

, Volume 141, Issue 3, pp 1285–1305 | Cite as

Pathways to Adulthood: Sequences in the School-to-Work Transition in Finland, Norway and Sweden

  • Thomas LorentzenEmail author
  • Olof Bäckman
  • Ilari Ilmakunnas
  • Timo Kauppinen


Research on youth transitions often follows the lines of classic welfare state typologies. Thus, given the institutional similarities, the transition from youth to adulthood in the Nordic countries has often been considered a specific type of trajectory. However, little research exists on how country differences within the Nordic cluster shape young people’s pathways from education to work. Thus, little is known about intra-Nordic variations caused by national labour market regulations and social safety nets (e.g. parental insurance, public day care and unemployment security). In this article, we use sequence analysis to examine the transition process from school to work in Finland, Norway and Sweden and to find how these processes are linked to family formation patterns. The results indicate that Finland, Norway and Sweden to a great extent share the same general types of school-to-work trajectories. The role of family establishment in workforce entry trajectories, on the other hand, differs in some respects. There is a very strong link between early parenthood among Finnish women and trajectories leading to labour market exclusion. This is interpreted in light of the Finnish labour market and family policy.


Youth transitions Nordic countries Register data Sequence analysis Family-friendly politics 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  2. 2.Swedish Institute for Social ResearchStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden
  3. 3.Social Policy, Faculty of Social SciencesUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland
  4. 4.Social Policy Research UnitNational Institute for Health and WelfareHelsinkiFinland

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