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Course 2016-2017 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) - 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  |  12 credits SECS-S/04) - EMIT (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SECS-S/04) - GIO (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 cannot be ignored. Low fertility and population ageing have emerged in developed countries, while high fertility, high population growth and health threats, largely intertwined with poverty, continue to affect population dynamics and economic development in developing countries. Migration connects the South to the North 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.
The course is divided into four themes - all central in demography and population dynamics.
For each theme, we introduce key measurements and methods, show recent converging/differential geographical trends, give an overview of how social scientists have approached the theme over recent years - for then to present cutting edge and up to date research issues. For each of these themes we  provide data sources and ideas for writing your assignment. All topics are introduced within an interdisciplinary approach drawing from demography, economics, social policy, sociology, and other social and biological sciences.

The themes are:
1.One billion shades of grey: Population structure and demographic processes
2.Family change: Women's (incomplete) revolution and gender equality
3.From boom to bust: International perspectives on fertility
4.The saga of human longevity: Life expectancy, health and inequality

Course Content Summary

Part 1: One billion shades of grey: Population structure and demographic processes.

  • Basic concepts and measures of population structure
  • Births, migration and deaths in historical and current perspective (the demographic transition)
  • Population pyramids and population projections

Part 2: From boom to bust: International perspectives on fertility.

  • Measurements (TFR, period fertility, cohort fertility, age specific fertility rates)
  • Postponement and tempo effects
  • Fertility in the developing world
  • Fertility boom, implosion - and reversal in trends
  • Geo-political drivers and consequences of fertility trends

Part 3: Family change - women's revolution and gender equality.

  • Around fertility: family formation and dissolution
  • The "second demographic" transition
  • The Institutional and cultural foundation of demographic change
  • Secularization, globalization and new demographic trends
  • Education: attitudes, cultural values and social norms
Part 4: The saga of human longevity: Life expectancy, health and inequality.
  • The life table, differential life table patterns and measure of life expectancy
  • The frontiers of survival - contemporary debates on current trends
  • Measuring health conditions in developed and developing countries.
  • Using demographic tools to understand health and well-being
  • Population health under globalization, increasing inequality and substantive convergence

Detailed Description of Assessment Methods
The written exam counts 50% whereas an assignment/research paper counts for the remaining 50%. The written exam consists of a 1st partial (covering the material presented in Parts 1 and 2). The 2nd partial covers the material from Parts 3 and 4. The research paper can be done in groups (up to maximum of three students). The length should be around 5,000 words, and should be based on the themes presented in the course. Data sources and instructions on how to implement the assignment will be provided. The exam and the essay are valid until the end of the academic year.

  • B.A. ANDERSON, World population dynamics. An introduction to Demography, 2015 (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.

Last change 16/05/2016 12:03