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"Contexts of Opportunity: Explaining Cross-National Variation in the Links Between Childhood Disadvantage, Young Adult Demographic Behaviour and Later-Life Outcomes" (CONOPP)
Start date: Jun 1, 2013, End date: May 31, 2018 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"In an era of worldwide increasing inequalities, key social science issues about the production and reproduction of social inequality gain renewed attention. One central issue is the role played by demographic events and trajectories in producing and reproducing inequalities. This proposal examines this issue by studying the relationships between the experience of childhood social disadvantage, demographic decision-making during young adulthood and later-life economic, social and health outcomes from a comparative perspective. The key contribution of this proposal is that it studies cross-national variation in the strength of these relationships and focuses on one general explanation: the strength of the relationships depend on the opportunities that societies offer to abate the adverse impact of economic and social deprivation. I will pay attention to three aspects of the national context: (1) economic aspects, like the level of economic development and growth in a country, (2) cultural aspects, like the extent to which strong norms on family-related behaviour are operative, and (3) aspects of institutional arrangements, like the openness of the educational system, and existing family policies and general social policies. I will test whether the strength of the links between childhood disadvantage, young adult demographic behaviour and subsequent outcomes depend on these three aspects of the ‘contexts of opportunity’. To test these ideas, I will use retrospective and prospective data from the Generations and Gender Programme, and use a combination of sophisticated methods, including multi-level analysis, latent variable analysis and sequence analysis. In doing so, this project will elucidate the role of demography in the reproduction of inequalities and highlight key opportunity structures that influence the strength of the relevant links between social background, young adult demographic behaviours and subsequent outcomes."

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