Research Themes

Research at the PSTC is innovative and interdisciplinary, and is characterized by its focus on social issues. Reflecting PSTC's strong connection to three social science departments—Anthropology, Economics, and Sociology—as well as our links to public health, political science, education, and environmental studies, PSTC researchers focus on providing a better understanding of the social structures and systems underlying population structure and well-being. This focus provides a better context in which to consider and debate major social issues and policy. Complex structures and systems are best viewed from multiple perspectives, and there is much to be gained through the interaction of researchers investigating similar structures albeit in different settings and using different methodologies. The nature and depth of these connections at the PSTC is evident in our signature research themes.

Five themes characterize our substantive research areas. Each link below leads to a list of the current projects in that theme:

  1. Consequences of Migration in Sending and Receiving Areas

    To consider the consequences of migration for sending and receiving areas with particular focus on the role migration plays not just in redistributing people, but also in moving and transforming ideas, cultures, and institutions.

  2. Development, Institutions, and Demographic Change

    To better understand the causes and consequences of population change and well-being as part of the process of economic and social transition in low-income countries with particular focus on the way that local cultural, social, economic and political institutions influence and are influenced by demographic processes.

  3. Persistent Disparities in Health and Human Capital

    To explore the mechanisms underlying persistent inequality in health and well-being with a particular focus on the role of the family and other social institutions in sustaining inequality, long-term effects of early life conditions, the design of effective public institutions to reduce inequality, and physiological-behavioral interactions.

  4. Population Structures in the Urban Environment

    To integrate urban studies with the study of population structures with particular focus on how the mingling of heterogeneous populations creates both positive and negative spillovers and increases the role for governance and social organizations as a mechanism for providing basic needs and for regulating individual and group behavior.

  5. Environmental Resources and Population Well-being

    To incorporate methods from the environmental and social sciences in the analysis of human and natural systems with a particular focus on the extent to which environmental resources create mutual dependencies among individuals and communities living in the same geographical space and on how these dependencies are managed.