Project leader


Funding source

Forte - Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2013
End date: 31/12/2016
Funding: 2850000 SEK


Social status often changes over the life course and how social mobility influences fertility and mortality are questions that have generated much debate. Yet the lack of large, high quality data has prohibited a full exploration. This project fills this gap by using Swedish register and survey data and makes three contributions. First, the effects of mobility are observed for both men and women, which allow gender-specific and couple-specific relations to be explored; partners within a couple may influence demographic outcomes differently. Second, time is carefully treated by observing individuals annually across their life course rather than periodically. Fertility research benefits from this strategy because the order of events can be observed, which ensures that the relationship estimates how mobility influences childbearing and not the reverse relationship. Mortality research benefits because we will be able to distinguish between temporary and permanent mobility and capture short-term relations between mobility and mortality. Third, how social mobility effects vary in different economic contexts, such as Sweden’s economic recession of the 1990s and later economic growth, is explored. What we know from mobility research is mostly derived from stable contexts and recent widespread instability in a range of economies increases the relevance of how mobility effects operate in different economic climates. Moreover, upward and downward mobility are generally driven by individual factors such as career commitment and endowments of cognitive and non-cognitive skills, but the importance of these unobserved factors changes during economic recession. Contrasting mobility patterns during economic recession and economic growth may offer important insight into how or when mobility matters to fertility and mortality.