Course 2014-2015 a.y.



Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English

Go to class group/s: 31
CLMG (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-S/04) - M (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-S/04) - IM (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-S/04) - MM (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-S/04) - AFC (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-S/04) - CLAPI (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-S/04) - CLEFIN-FINANCE (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-S/04) - CLELI (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-S/04) - ACME (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-S/04) - DES-ESS (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-S/04) - EMIT (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-S/04)
Course Director:

Classes: 31 (I sem.)

Course Objectives

The relevance of demographic change for present economic and societal dynamics can hardly be exaggerated. Low fertility and population ageing have emerged in developed countries, while health threats, largely intertwined with poverty, continue to affect population dynamics and economic development in developing countries. Migration connects the North and South of the world in an important way. This course provides a graduate-level introduction to the study of population, ranging from formal and applied demographic techniques to the study of current population trends and of their interrelationships with the economy. In the first part, students are introduced to the methods and materials of demography, including computer-based examples based on real data (largely focusing on the use of the Stata software package, for which we do not necessarily assume prior knowledge). In the second part, specific topics of key relevance are discussed, with reference to up-to-date population research. All topics are introduced within an interdisciplinary approach drawing from economics, social policy, sociology, and other social and biological sciences.

Course Content Summary

First part: background and demographic techniques.
  •  Population today and the demographic transition.
  •  Basic concepts and measures.
  •  Age structure and the economy: the demographic dividend.
  •  Age-specific rates and probabilities.
  •  The life table. Measuring health conditions in developed and developing countries.
  •  Fertility and reproduction.
  •  The micro-based approach to population: the life course and event-history analysis.
  •  Examples and computer-based exercises on real data in the laboratory.

Second part: key issues in population dynamics and economics.
  •  Becoming an adult in the developed and in the developing world.
  •  The emergence of low and lowest-low fertility.
  •  Second Demographic Transition.
  •  Gender aspects of the new demography.
  •  Institutions and demographic change.
  •  Social networks and family formation.
  •  International migrations.
  •  Happiness and demographic choices.

Detailed Description of Assessment Methods

Assessment is based on: 50% partial or final written exam on the first part; 50% individual or small-group essay (about 5,000 words) to be agreed with one of the instructors.
The exam and the essay are valid until the end of AY 2014-15.


  • S.H. PRESTON, P. HEUVELINE, M. GUILLOT, Demography. Measuring and Modeling Population Processes, Oxford, Blackwell Publishers, 2001 (selected chapters only).
  • H.P. BLOSSFELD, G. ROHWER, K. GOLSCH, Event History Analysis with Stata, Mahwah, NJ, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2007 (selected chapters only).
  • Papers to be specified in the detailed syllabus.
  • Other references are provided in the detailed syllabus.
Exam textbooks & Online Articles (check availability at the Library)
Last change 20/06/2014 16:46