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Peter FallesenDocent

Om mig

I am a senior researcher (docent) in the LNU/level-of-living group. Until December 2016, I was a postdoctoral researcher at the same place. I received my PhD in sociology from the University of Copenhagen in February 2015. I am also a Research Professor at the Rockwool Foundation Research Unit in Copenhagen and a research affiliate at the Center for Demography and Ecology, University of Wisconsin - Madison. I have previously held visiting positions at Yale University, UC Berkeley, and European University Institute.


Research Areas
My research fields are family demography, social inequality, child welfare, and criminal justice.

Current Research

I presently study the effect of imposing welfare benefit ceilings on family stability and welfare, how children affect parental outcomes after a divorce, the efficacy of medical treatment of ADHD on children's long term outcomes, and the temporal and intergenerational transmission of contacts with total institutions.




I urval från Stockholms universitets publikationsdatabas

  • Psychiatric hospital admission and later crime, mental health, and labor market outcomes

    2021. Rasmus Landersø, Peter Fallesen. Health Economics 30 (1), 165-179


    Most OECD countries have downsized treatment capacity at psychiatric hospitals substantially. We investigate consequences of these reductions by studying how the decision whether to admit individuals in mental distress to a psychiatric hospital affects their subsequent crime, treatment trajectories, and labor market outcomes. To circumvent nonrandom selection into admission, we use a proxy of occupancy rates prior to a patient's first contact with a psychiatric hospital as an instrument. We find that admissions reduce criminal behavior, likely due to incapacitation, and predominantly for males and those with a criminal record. Furthermore, admission lowers patients' subsequent labor market attachment, likely because a psychiatric hospital admission is an eligibility criterion for welfare benefits.

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  • Not Just Later, but Fewer

    2021. Julia Hellstrand (et al.). Demography 58 (4), 1373-1399


    With historically similar patterns of high and stable cohort fertility and high levels of gender equality, the Nordic countries of Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland are seen as forerunners in demographic behavior. Furthermore, Nordic fertility trends have strongly influenced fertility theories. However, the period fertility decline that started around 2010 in many countries with relatively high fertility is particularly pronounced in the Nordic countries, raising the question of whether Nordic cohort fertility will also decline and deviate from its historically stable pattern. Using harmonized data across the Nordic countries, we comprehensively describe this period decline and analyze the extent to which it is attributable to tempo or quantum effects. Two key results stand out. First, the decline is mostly attributable to first births but can be observed across all ages from 15 to the mid-30s. This is a reversal from the previous trend in which fertility rates in the early 30s increased relatively steadily in those countries in the period 1980–2010. Second, tempo explains only part of the decline. Forecasts indicate that the average Nordic cohort fertility will decline from 2 children for the 1970 cohort to around 1.8 children for the late 1980s cohorts. Finland diverges from the other countries in terms of its lower expected cohort fertility (below 1.6), and Denmark and Sweden diverge from Finland, Iceland, and Norway in terms of their slower cohort fertility decline. These findings suggest that the conceptualization of the Nordic model of high and stable fertility may need to be revised.

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  • Institutional Persistence

    2021. Peter Fallesen. British Journal of Social Work 51 (6), 2228-2246


    The pairwise overlaps in system involvement between child protective services (CPS), mental health services and the criminal justice system are well-documented. Yet, less is known about how contact to these three systems evolves as children age, and how children’s trajectories through these institutions should be conceptualised. In this article, we use administrative data on the full population of Danish children born 1982–1995 that had contact to at least one of the three systems before turning twenty-one. Theoretically, we argue that children’s trajectories of institutional contacts can be understood as a moral career as suggested by Goffman. Empirically, we study how children move between and are retained within the three systems across childhood. We find that early contact originates with CPS but branch out through both overlap and transitions to the other systems. Further, across age, there are high levels of retention within the systems, and clear gendered dynamics play out as children age. We argue that children’s trajectories across age can be viewed as moving from a position as a subject at risk to a position as subject of risk.

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  • Who Reacts to Less Restrictive Divorce Laws?

    2020. Peter Fallesen. Journal of Marriage and Family


    Objective: To study how divorce behavior in Denmark changed following a July 2013 reform that removed previous restriction on immediate divorce by repealing mandatory 6‐month separation periods for uncontested divorces, instead allowing for immediate administrative divorce.

    Background: Most countries have mandatory separation periods that couples undergo before they can divorce. Separation allows couples a grace period, during which they may reconcile and stay together. Yet, the impact of separation periods on divorce risk remains understudied.

    Methods: Using monthly time series data on divorce rates from 2007 to 2018 (T = 144), the research brief estimates the size and shape of the policy impact of the July 2013 reform. Using monthly administrative population data on all ever‐married couples (N*T = 11,304,566), the study further calculates the average characteristics of married couples in Denmark who would have remained together absent the reform.

    Results: After an initial spike in the divorce rate driven by couples divorcing earlier, the divorce rate settled at a 10% higher level compared to pre‐reform. Couples who divorced because of the reform had been married for fewer years compared to other divorced couples, were ethnic Danish, and had high school degree as the highest educational level.

    Conclusion: Mandatory separation periods have a dampening effect on divorce rates.

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  • Family type and parents’ time with children

    2019. Peter Fallesen, Michael Gähler. Acta Sociologica


    Parental time with children is important for children’s developmental outcomes. Family type may affect the amount of time parents can and will invest in children. Using time-use panel data obtained from two waves of the Danish Time Use Survey, linked with administrative records, the study shows that parental family type had a substantial impact on the time parents spent with children. When controlling for constant unobserved individual traits, likely to affect both time-use and family type, differences in time-use increase, indicating positive selection into nonintact family types. Single parents and parents in reconstituted families spent less time on developmental activities, such as talking, reading and playing with the child, whereas parents living in reconstituted families also spent less time on non-developmental activities, such as transporting the child or performing basic childcare. Based on our findings, there are indications that cross-sectional results showing little difference in parents’ involvement in children across family types partly emanate from differential selection in family types.

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