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SERC/Urban and Spatial Programme Discussion Paper

Family Types and the Persistence of Regional Disparities in Europe


This paper examines the association between one of the most basic institutional forms, the family, and a series of demographic, educational, social, and economic indicators across regions in Europe. Using Emmanuel Todd’s classification of medieval European family systems, we identify potential links between family types and regional disparities in household size, educational attainment, social capital, labor participation, sectoral structure, wealth, and inequality. The results indicate that medieval family structures seem to have influenced European regional disparities in virtually every indicator considered. That these links remain, despite the influence of the modern state and population migration, suggests that either such structures are extremely resilient or else they have in the past been internalized within other social and economic institutions as they developed.


Gilles Duranton, Andrés Rodríguez-Pose and Richard Sandall

November 2008     Paper Number SERCDP0009

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This SERC/Urban and Spatial Programme Discussion Paper is published under the centre's Urban programme.