Stockholm university

Research project Demographic and economic growth during three centuries. Longitudinal micro-level data, Taiwan/Sweden

In our project we examine how changing economic circumstances may influence different demographic outcomes, using Longitudinal micro-level data for 1800-2007 for Sweden and Taiwan. A central question in demography is the degree to which marriage, fertility and mortality is influenced by economic cycles.

The issue was first brought to public attention by Malthus in the late 1700s, and was again high-lighted in Swedish discourse by Alva Myrdal during the 1930s. Economic cycles have ever since served as common explanations for subsequent variations in Swedish fertility trends.

We study these issues over an extended period of time (1800-2012) based on data from parish and population registers from Sweden and Taiwan. We aim at studying how different aspects of economic circumstances during agricultural societies, the industrialization, the great depression, and the economic cycles during the post-war era have interacted with demographic change. 

We use different aggregate measures of economic circumstances to study how short-term economic fluctuations have affected individual-level demographic outcomes. To understand how economic cycles affect population change is of interest for a better understanding of the contemporary relationship between economy and demography, it also helps us better understand how population systems may evolve over time. Our comparison between Sweden and Taiwan provides the opportunity to study how these relationships has changed not only over time and development level, but also across two very different family regimes.

Project members

Project managers

Martin Kolk

Associate Professor

Department of Sociology
Martin Kolk