Enrolment as an Excuse? On the Causal Effect of Education on Fertility Postponement

Women’s mean age at first birth steeply increased by as many as 4–5 years during the second half of the twentieth century throughout Europe and the United States, and was accompanied by an overall increase in educational attainment. It has been argued that the educational expansion is largely responsible for fertility postponement for a number of reasons. Being enrolled in education may, for example, lead to postponement of childbearing because combining student and mother roles is difficult, given that they both entail time-intensive tasks. Continue reading

PopFest 2017 (May 31st – June 2nd, 2017)

Dear friends and colleagues,

The 25th Annual Postgraduate Population Studies Conference (PopFest) will take place in Stockholm May 31st – June 2nd 2017. The call for papers is now open. PopFest is an annual Population Studies conference for PhD students organized by fellow PhDs. It provides an excellent opportunity to bring together researchers from various Social Science disciplines such as Demography, Sociology, Human Geography, Politics, Urban Planning, Social Anthropology, Social Statistics and other related fields.

Continue reading

The Mismeasure of Global Poverty

How many people in the world today are extremely poor? This simple question is, perhaps unsurprisingly, extremely difficult to answer. However, since 1990, The World Bank has attempted to provide an answer by publishing comprehensive estimates of “extreme poverty” that are now widely used to monitor and appraise global policy and poverty reduction strategies. This is the well-known “dollar-a-day” international poverty line, based originally on a sample of developing country’s national poverty lines from the 1980s. (The so-called “dollar-a-day” now stands at $1.90 per day in light of updated global price data.)

Continue reading

The Effects of Market-Based Housing Reforms on Housing Affordability: New York 1990-2008

Since the 1980s, policies have increasingly encouraged housing provision by the private market. Programs to de-commodify housing such as rent regulations or social housing programs have gradually been terminated and replaced by policies to promote the delivery of housing through profit-making actors. Selling or demolishing social housing, liberalizing rents, or promoting homeownership have come to dominate the policy landscape, not just in Britain or the US, but also across many Western European countries. Programs such as the British Right-To-Buy, HOPE VI in the US, or the Dutch urban restructuring program are widely known, if only exemplary of this wider trend.

Continue reading

Can Immigration Really Offset the Adverse Economic Effects of Ageing Populations? Not According to New Research at the London School of Economics

As Britain prepares to go to the polls for the EU referendum, immigration is a key issue. Those worried by the adverse economic effects of an ageing population sometimes claim that immigration can offset these effects by increasing the proportion of working-age people.  It is a claim challenged by a new study of long-term trends by Michael Murphy published in the journal Population Studies.

Continue reading

Contraception as a Rational Choice or Social Practice?

Couples’ fertility control is most often perceived as a rational decision-making process, thereby assuming that people – and women in particular – who want to prevent conception will rely on the most effective method available. Accordingly, it is argued that the introduction of hormonal methods in advanced economies was paralleled by a linear transition from irrational ineffective methods to rational effective ones.

Continue reading

Will the Affordable Care Act Eliminate Perplexing Inequalities in Contraceptive Sterilization?

In the United States, just under half (48.1%) of partnered women aged 25–44 using contraception rely on sterilization for fertility control. In our recent study, Gender, Class, and Contraception in Comparative Context: The Perplexing Links between Sterilization and Disadvantage (2016), Megan Sweeney and I show that levels of contraceptive sterilization are similarly high in Australia (39.6% of partnered women aged 25–44 using contraception), but they tend to be much lower and more variable across Europe. With the exception of Australia and Belgium, female sterilization is more common than male sterilization in all of the countries studied (Austria, Bulgaria, France, Georgia, Germany, Romania, Russia, and the United States), despite the latter being simpler, more effective, less often regretted, more economical, and having lower rates of minor and major complications.

Continue reading

The Emergence of a ‘Trailing Husband’ Phenomenon Following Retirement

Today’s retirees are a cohort where the husband has traditionally been the dominant breadwinner. As such, family migration for this generation demonstrates the powerful role of the husband in the decision to move. Decisions were influenced by the husband’s employment, career and earning capacity with the wife/female partner widely acknowledged as a ‘trailing wife’, ‘tied mover’ or ‘married to her husband’s job’. In other words, she was prepared to move for the sake of her husband’s career even if it resulted in a negative effect on her own employment prospects.

Continue reading

The Causal Effect of a Genetic Liability for Schizophrenia on the Age at First Birth

There is a well-established empirical association between parental age and children’s well being. Typically, children of teenage parents and parents with a very late age at first birth are worse off in terms of their socio-economic status and (mental) health compared to children of 20-35 years old mothers. So far, this relationship has been attributed to unstable relationships of young parents and their low economic resources as well as the decreasing (physical) health of older parents which, for example, may complicate conception, pregnancy and birth (for an excellent demographic introduction into the topic please check out the dissertation of Alice Goisis at LSE: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/844/).

Continue reading