Research Group

Labor Demography

At a Glance Projects Publications Team

Research Area

Demographic Perspectives on Human Capital Formation

Human capital is considered to be one of the major determinants of labor-force participation and labor-market success, as measured by occupational status or earnings for example. Conceptually, human capital comprises a wide range of characteristics that are relevant for demographic analyses, including (but not limited to) education, health, and fertility. While human capital is of central importance for the labor market, it also interacts with and shapes other population processes, such as union formation and mortality.

In this research area, we study the factors and processes that shape human capital, looking at both developing and developed countries. Of particular interest are subgroups within populations that experience changes or shocks to their human capital accumulation. For example, certain aspects of human capital are context-specific, such as language skills. Immigrants often experience that these aspects are not valued (as highly or not at all) in their destination country compared to their country of origin. We study how labor migrants and similar subpopulations adjust and adapt to such changes. Our results will provide important insights into human capital formation that are, at the same time, highly relevant for policy makers. We analyze all important aspects of human capital, including educational attainment, labor income, health, and fertility, considering both the short-term effects of specific events and interventions and the long-term consequences over the life course.

We do so by drawing on longitudinal and cross-sectional information from population registers and surveys. We are particularly interested in methodological approaches to causal inference, such as natural experiments, that allow us to provide high-quality evidence.

Research Keywords:

Economics, Employment, Retirement, Policies, Politics, Administration, Welfare State

Projects of this Research Area

Environmental Determinants of Human Capital Accumulation Project details
The Social Integration of Labor Migrants and Their Family Project details
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.