Casualties of turbulent economic transition: premature mortality and foregone fertility in the post-communist countries

Billingsley, S.
XVI, 146 pages. Barcelona, Universitat Pompeu Fabra (2009)


In this thesis, I analyze the contribution of the economic context to the fertility and mortality crises that took place across the former Soviet Union and Central and Eastern Europe during the transition from communism. At the macro-level, findings reflect a relationship between a negative economic context and stopping behavior of childbirth, whereas a positive economic context appears to encourage postponement of having a first child. Macro-economic conditions appear to be related to variations in mortality rates as well, particularly for the demographic group that drove the mortality crisis and the causes of death that have been linked to alcohol consumption. At the micro-level, evidence emerges in Russia that downward social mobility and unemployment were two experiences that particularly influenced early deaths and second birth risks. Both women and men were less likely to have a second child if they had experienced downward mobility after the first child was born. Downward mobility and unemployment also increased death risks; moreover, they predicted excessive alcohol consumption and poor health as well, while the reverse relationship did not appear in the findings.
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