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Regional consequences of demographic change: regional development and disparities in a context of ageing and shrinking population in Germany

Prenzel, Paula (2017) Regional consequences of demographic change: regional development and disparities in a context of ageing and shrinking population in Germany. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.hg85u5j3xt5i


Demographic change represents the defining trend in population development of the 21st century on a global, national, and regional level. Although some countries are yet to see its impacts, others, such as Germany, have already begun experiencing the effects of demographic change. Sub-replacement level fertility since the 1970s coupled with increases in life expectancy have slowed German population growth and cause pronounced shifts in the age composition. These changes are even more noticeable on a sub-national level, where, in the context of national-level demographic change, shrinking and ageing regions are no longer transitory and exceptional but a wide-spread and permanent phenomenon. Despite the relative predictability of these trends, there is little empirical research on the consequences of demographic change on regional socio-economic conditions. This thesis analyses demographic change using the case of Germany on a regional level and considers how changes in population size and age composition affect economic outcomes and their geographical patterns. It focuses on three aspects that are central to processes of regional economic development. First, it investigates the role of demographic change in the provision of public services, using the example of primary school closures in response to falling student numbers. Second, it studies the effect of population ageing on availability and composition of human capital in regional labour markets. Third, it examines the relationship between regional age structures and patterns of internal migration, testing for evidence whether the two trends may be mutually reinforcing. Using administrative and micro-data for 332 German district regions between 1996 and 2010, this thesis documents the current relevance of demographic change for socioeconomic conditions and emphasises its future role in shaping regional economic development in ageing and shrinking countries.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2017 Paula Veronika Prenzel
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Sets: Departments > Geography and Environment
Supervisor: Iammarino, Simona and Gibbons, Stephen

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