This chapter examines institutional aspects of the phenomenon of early school leaving in Europe. The chapter begins by briefly reviewing the place of education in the welfare state, introducing the classification system of Esping-Andersen and outlining how it has been applied to education. The concept of stratification is then related to both institutional arrangements and access to education, including the social composition and status of a particular educational level. De-commodification is interpreted in terms of the extent to which participants in education are shielded from market forces, and the public-private mix in educational provision. The main questions of the chapter are then stated: what are the patterns of early school leaving, and how are these patterns related to educational institutions and policies in different welfare regimes? These questions are addressed using comparative policy literature and secondary data from 26 European countries. For early school leaving, the chapter constructs measures of de-commodification and stratification and investigates their relationships to broader features of welfare states, asking in particular whether countries with similar welfare regimes tend to cluster in relation to these key aspects of education. Drawing on the findings from this analysis, the chapter discusses the factors underlying high rates of early school leaving, highlighting aspects of policy that appear to offer prospects for improvement.