Research Group

Labor Demography

At a Glance Projects Publications Team


Demographic Perspectives on Human Capital Formation

Conducted by Mikko Myrskylä; Peter Eibich, Chia Liu, Pekka Martikainen

Detailed Description

Human capital is considered to be one of the major determinants of labor-force participation and labor-market success. 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 project, we study the factors and processes that shape human capital, looking at both high-income and low- and middle-income countries. We particularly look at 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. We analyze all important aspects of human capital, including educational attainment, labor income, health, and fertility, considering 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 particularly apply methodological approaches to causal inference (such as natural experiments) that allow us to provide high-quality evidence.

Research Keywords:

Education and Science


Lahtinen, H.; Martikainen, P.; Korhonen, K.; Morris, T. T.; Myrskylä, M.:
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2023-015. (2023)    
Nisén, J.; Tassot, J.; Iacoella, F.; Eibich, P.:
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2022-021. (2022)    
Remes, H. M.; Sirniö, O.; Martikainen, P.:
Acta Sociologica 65:3, 313–331. (2022)    
Eibich, P.; Liu, C.:
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2020-012. (2020)    
Nisén, J.; Bijlsma, M. J.; Martikainen, P.; Wilson, B.; Myrskylä, M.:
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2019-017. (2019)    
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.