The Residential Independence of Italian and German University Students and Their Perception of the Labour Market



Social scientists increasingly agree that the different timings of the departure from the parental home in southern and northern Europe are shaped by the mutual influence of cultural norms and institutional structures. The findings presented in this paper provide insight into two new aspects, related to the respective national institutional structure, that have been frequently overlooked in previous research. From the analysis of qualitative interviews with university students and their parents in Italy and Germany (43 participants) it emerges that different kinds of networks and the subjective perception of meritocracy in the labour market influence the decision to leave home during education and in the job search. A labour market perceived as meritocratic can be a motivating factor for leaving home. Furthermore, the interview results point to the relevance of early residential independence as a preparation for spatial flexibility on the job market and as a source for exchange and creativity. The discussion of the findings raises the question of a possible influence of the early departure from the parental home on the development of economic growth and innovation capacity.


Labour Market Family Firm Residential Mobility Parental Home Family Network 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political and Social SciencesEuropean University Institute (EUI)FlorenceItaly

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