April 04, 2022 | News

New Research Group on Kinship Inequalities

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A new independent Max Planck Research Group led by Diego Alburez-Gutierrez will be launched in May. The group will study how differences in kinship among persons and groups determine individual outcomes and structure human societies.

Kinship is a fundamental and universal form of social structure. All humans have kin ties in the same way that all humans are born and die. Yet, the degree to which individuals benefit from these ties varies greatly. “We refer to the differences in kin presence, kin availability, and kin resources as kinship inequalities,” says Research Group Leader Diego Alburez-Gutierrez. For example, longer lifespans allow grandparents to spend more time with their grandchildren. That is a positive development for grandchildren, grandparents, and parents, who benefit from childcare support. In practice, these gains are unevenly distributed among sub-populations that have different legacies of mortality and fertility.

The independent Max Planck Research Group on Kinship Inequalities will conduct research to advance the subfield of kinship demography in general and the study of kinship inequalities in particular. Max Plank Research Groups are independent research teams working on specific topics. The Kinship Inequalities group will initially employ two postdoctoral researchers and one PhD Student to study the implications of kinship inequalities for individuals, families, and societies.

Diego Alburez-Gutierrez holds a PhD in Demography from the London School of Economics and is employed as a Research Scientist at the MPIDR since 2019. He is interested in studying the drivers and implications of demographic change from a kinship perspective. His recent work has studied changes in the experience of life events such as kin availability, kin loss, and caring responsibilities.


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The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.