Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - DYNAMICS

Core Theory: Public Policy & Demographic Change

by Prof. Dr. Michaela Kreyenfeld


This course introduces our PhD students to the central concepts and theories of demographic research. The course introduces basic demographic concepts, such as the Lexis-diagram, the life course perspective and discusses the problem of separating age, cohort and period effects.

We address classical theories of demographic behaviour and demographic change. Beyond the classical approaches, the course also provides an overview on current themes in aging, fertility, divorce, marriage and child-wellbeing, intergenerational relationships, elderly care, mortality, mass migration and population decline. Policy relevant questions that are to be discussed in this course are, for example: Do governments need to take action to increase the birth rate? Should pension age be increased in response to population aging? Should we allow assisted dying? Must voting age be lowered because of population aging? Is population decline a challenge to national governments? The course will address the situation in Europe and in a global perspective.

The PhD students will moreover get familiar with basic demographic indicators, such as different specifications of fertility rates and mortality rates as well as measures that can be derived from divorce or migration statistics. Finally, participants will be introduced to macro level data commonly used in demographic research (available, for example, through the Human Mortality Database (HMD) and the Human Fertility Database (HFD)).