20615 - POPULATION DYNAMICS AND POLICIES
Course taught in English
Go to class group/s: 24
Synchronous Blended: Lessons in synchronous mode in the classroom (for a maximum of one hour per credit in remote mode)
There are no specific prerequisites for this course, albeit we assume familiarity with formal modelling and the interpretation of statistical analyses, as well as with basic tools in policy evaluation (as from the Quantitative Methods for Policy Analysis course of the PPA MSc).
Population change is one of the great mega-trends of our era. Low fertility and population ageing have emerged in developed countries, while high fertility and fast population growth, largely intertwined with poverty, continue to affect population dynamics and economic development in low-income countries. Health threats are widespread, and the COVID-19 pandemics has exposed the vulnerability of middle- and high-income countries. Migration connects the South to the North of the world both between and within in important ways. These demographic developments call for policy responses and affect politics and the way policies are formulated.
This course aims to provide students with key tools to understand population dynamics, key evidence on population change and its interaction with policies, through the standard toolkit of demography. The course is divided into two parts. In the first part, we will introduce the basics of demographic methods, and discuss macro-level population change and its interaction with policies. In the second part, we will discuss the role of policies (and related factors) in shaping family and fertility, health, and migration, as well as micro-level empirical approaches and results.
Be familiar with evidence on past and current population change in a comparative perspective.
Have an understanding of the interaction between the components of population change and policies
Be familiar with demographic approaches to the study of survival and health, family and fertility, and migration.
Be familiar with demographic scenarios.
Read, discuss and criticize population-related policy reports.
Read, discuss and criticize population-related intermediate-level scientific articles.
Access official population data.
Produce a policy report on population issues.
- Face-to-face lectures
- Group assignments
Population report will be written by groups of max two students (at the choice of students). The report is in line with the idea that policies should be based on evidence (as composed by scientific evidence, i.e. through using scientific literature on population, as well as actual demographic data, see ‘Essential’ below on the specifics of the data to be used). The report should have as the main subject the population dynamics of a specific country of students’ choice and its interaction with policies. It should be directed to policy advisers, who need information on the past, present, and future population dynamics of these countries, on current policies and policy options.
The final grade will be based on a population report and a second partial exam.
Weights: 60% for the highest mark and 40% for the lowest.
- Second partial exam: it will include essay-style questions and it will cover all the topics of the second part of the course. Material covered in the lectures, in the textbook and other set readings may be included in the exam.
Readings: Lecture slides from blackboard, book, and papers in the detailed syllabus