Political Demography: The Political Consequences of Population Change



The past half century has witnessed profound demographic and democratic transitions around the globe. How do structural demographic factors shape political outcomes of societies? Our study offers a conceptual framework of the effects of a range of key demographic factors on democratization, and provides systematic empirical evidence using country-level panel data we built between 1975 and 2018. The results demonstrate that demography has powerful and heterogenous political consequences. Importantly, the effects of demographic factors often play out in nonlinear and conditional fashion.


Professor Yao Lu is Professor of Sociology and Faculty Affiliate at the Columbia Population Research Center (CPRC), the Weatherhead East Asian Institute (WEAI), the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP), the Data Science Institute (DSI), the Center for Pandemic Research, the China Center for Social Policy, and the Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS) at Columbia University.

Her research is at the intersection of inequality, demography, and politics, and primarily focuses on 1) the influence of demographic forces on political processes, 2) the sources of inequality by gender, race/ethnicity, and nativity in the high-skilled labor markets, and 3) the impact of migration/immigration on economic and social inequality in sending and receiving societies. Within these general areas, her research cuts across a number of subfields ranging from labor markets to race and ethnicity, gender, collective action, health, and child development. Her work takes a multidisciplinary approach and seeks to arrive at new findings by bringing together seemingly disparate areas of research.

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