Insegnamento a.a. 2015-2016



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 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 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. We will also introduce 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 demography, economics, social policy, sociology, and other social and biological sciences.

Course Content Summary

First part: background and demographic techniques:

  • Population today: demographic transitions and trends.
  • Basic concepts and measures of population structure and growth.
  • Population pyramids and population projections.
  • Age-specific rates and probabilities.
  • Age structure and the economy: dependency ratios, demographic dividend and youth bulge.
  • The life table and differential life table patterns.
  • Measuring health conditions in developed and developing countries.
  • Fertility and reproduction.
  • The micro-based approach to population: the life course and the event-history analysis.
  • Examples and computer-based exercises on real data in the laboratory.

Second part: key issues in population dynamics and economics:

  • The emergence of low and lowest-low fertility a global perspective.
  • The Institutional and cultural foundation of demographic change.
  • Happiness and demographic choices.
  • Migration, migrants and urbanization.
  • Global trends in life expectancy - contemporary debates.
  • Using demographic tools to understand health and well-being.
  • Population health under globalization increasing inequality or substantive convergence.  

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 2016-17.


  • 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.
Exam textbooks & Online Articles (check availability at the Library)
Last change 15/06/2015 09:37