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Seminar on Poverty, Programs and Demographic Outcomes

Organized by the IUSSP Committee on Population and Poverty
in collaboration with Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico City
Mexico City, 21-22 November 2003

Call for Papers

The seminar "Poverty, Programs and Demographic Outcomes" will have as its underlying theme the impact of social programs --broadly defined to include health, family planning, schooling and other programs -- on demographic outcomes, as mediated by poverty or factors underlying poverty. A major focus will be the differential impacts of social programs on demographic outcomes for the poor and non-poor. Such differential outcomes can occur because programs are successfully targeted towards the poor, but of equal or greater interest are behavioral explanations. For example, better educated adults may make more effective use of maternal and child health programs. Or, conversely, immunization programs may have a larger effect on the survival of children in low-income households, who are less likely to become immunized without the program, and the establishment of clinics and mobile health facilities may have a larger impact on the health-service utilization of low-income households.

A related issue that the seminar will consider is the impact of social programs on the distribution of key demographic outcomes. Are disparities in these outcomes increased or decreased by such programs?

The demographic outcomes of greatest interest are fertility and marriage, health and mortality, and household location or composition. The programs of interest are those that plausibly might have meaningful effects on these demographic outcomes. Naturally health and family planning programs are of central interest, but so too are schooling programs or programs that raise the economic returns to investments in human resources, as these too might have important demographic ramifications.

Among the types of programs to be examined, though not exclusively, are "conditional grants" or "targeted subsidies". These are programs that provide a payment or in-kind grant conditional on certain behavior, such as school attendance by children. The Progresa program in Mexico is one well-known example of such a program, but others exist. In this seminar, the issues to be examined are the impact of such programs on demographic outcomes, and whether the impact varies according to poverty status or its correlates.

The organizers hope that the program for the seminar will contain a mix of literature reviews and fresh empirical studies.

Complete papers or abstracts and a brief (less than one page) curriculum vitae should be submitted to John Strauss (jstrauss@msu.edu) no later than 1 April 2003. Final decisions regarding acceptance will be made by 15 April 2003.