Loneliness and Urbanization in Europe: A Multi-level Approach
Abstract: Despite its rich theoretical and empirical potential as a distinctly sociological phenomenon, contemporary analyses of loneliness in the context of city life are scarce. A recent investigation (Swader & Ponarin, in progress) in Russia demonstrates that individualist values matter most in leading to loneliness in a megacity, while loneliness among Russians living in settlements of less than 100,000 people is spurred by objective features of social isolation. Yet the generalizability of these Russian findings could be challenged because (a) Russian loneliness levels are much higher than those of other countries, and (b) Russian features of social isolation, due to geography, may also be exaggerated. Therefore, the present study aims to determine the roles of urbanism and individualism in predicting loneliness across a wider range of European societies. Our data come from the 2012 wave of the European Social Survey. We will employ a multi-level model in order to test the effects of urbanization (measured at the country level as the proportion of urban population and at the individual level as the settlement size of the respondent) and individualism (defined as individuals' diminished importance of traditional values of family) in yielding dichotomous individual loneliness outcomes. We hypothesize that urbanization (at both levels) will predict greater loneliness, but that these effects will be usurped by the mechanism of individualism (alone and as an interaction with social isolation), when they are inserted into the model.
Parenthood and life satisfaction: Russia in comparative perspective
– Postdoc Researcher at the Centre for Population, Poverty and Public Policy Studies, Luxembourg.Sheacquired her PhD in humanistic sciences in Graduate School for Social Research, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland. Her academic interests cover such themes as employment and home-making, unemployment, life-course transitions, marriage and divorce, subjective well-being, social determinants of health.
Abstract: The paper estimates the effect of parenthood on life satisfaction in contemporary Russia. Analyses of longitudinal data for Western countries demonstrated a positive effect of childbirth on life satisfaction, which occurs up to 5 years before the birth (anticipation effect). Currently, no analyses investigate this phenomenon in Russia. The research uses Russia Longitudinal Monitoring Survey of HSE and fixed effects regression models. Although the project focuses on a single country, it uses a comparative approach because it compares the results obtained for Russia with results for Germany (SOEP), Great Britain (BHPS), and Switzerland (SHP). Our results show that in Russia the trajectory of life satisfaction during parenthood differs from the one observed in Western countries. In particular, the strong positive effect of the first childbirth is absent. We also do not observe a decline of life satisfaction during child’s preschool and early school years. Moreover, in Russia, in contrast to Western countries, younger parents and lower educated parents experience higher life satisfaction gains at the moment of birth. This suggests that grandparents play a crucial role in rising children in Russia. This research is the first one to examine life satisfaction changes associated with parenthood in a country strikingly different from the Western European countries investigated previously.
Economic growth, social capital and poverty traps
Abstract: Modern societies are facing new social, economic and institutional challenges that hinder social capital, people’s well-being and the sustainability of economic development. Present research addresses the relationship between economic growth and social capital over time. A long lasting debate in the economic discipline agrees that higher stocks of social capital enhance economic growth, but overlooked the temporal dimension. There are reasons to suspect that the positive correlation identified in the literature can not be extended to the relationship over time. To explore this hypothesis, I will adopt various proxies of social capital and data from the six waves integrated World Values Survey / European Values Study and the 6 waves European Social Survey. In particular, I will try to answer to the following questions: is economic growth eroding social capital over time? Which are the conditions shaping this relationship? Are countries subject to social capital poverty traps? Is this a common feature of all countries? Present work will contribute to a better understanding of the changes of social capital over time and of the differences in the endowments of social capital among countries. Considering the important role of social capital for people’s well-being and economic prosperity, this research will provide some empirical evidence to inform policy makers who intend to pursue a socially sustainable economic system.
The Geography of Happiness: Understanding Cross-Country Heterogeneity in Micro-Level Determinants of Well-being
- Full Professor of Economics, Economics Department, University of Milan-Bicocca. Also he holds the position of CISEPS's director (Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Economics, Psychology and Social Sciences) and Director of EELab (Experimental Economics Laboratory).
Abstract: This project investigates spatial heterogeneity in the effects of individual characteristics on subjective well-being. We study individual-level data from the World Values Survey with two main objectives. First, we characterize the cross-country spatial distribution of the effects of selected individual demographic and socioeconomic conditions on subjective well-being. Second, we assess across countries the effects of institutions and aggregate socioeconomic conditions on the country-specific effects of individual conditions on subjective well-being. Our analysis will focus, in particular, on the determinants of the well-being effects of gender, age, marital status and parenthood. The results will provide relevant indications for economic and social policy.
Why is Gender Equality Good for Governance? The Socialization Hypothesis
currently holds the Maria-Goeppert-Mayer Chair of Politics and Gender at Georg August University Goettingen. Sheacquired her PhD in Political Science in 2011 at the University of California, Irvine.Her researches mostly concern women’s political empowerment and its effects on different aspects of political and social life.
Abstract:This research adds to a growing literature on gender equality and good governance. This literature has established various links between separate aspects of gender equality and good governance, including the provision of public goods such as democratic accountability, intra and interstate peace, economic growth, rule of law, low corruption and human well-being. However, while the literature on disparate aspects of the gender equality-good governance nexus continues to grow, there is no integrated approach that takes a comprehensive look at how the various aspects play together to create global gender equality-good governance patterns. As a result, theory and analysis fall short in explanations of why we see such frequent replication of these patterns across the globe and over time. Based on preliminary research, I assume that the direction of influence runs more strongly from gender equality writ large –facilitated through both the engendering of institutions and de-gendering of capabilities- to general public goods provisions. I argue that gender equality writ large is good for governance through gender role socialization. Traditional gender role socialization negatively affects governance by ascribing different sets of emotions, traits and styles of reasoning to sex differences, distorting opportunity structures for exercising power and creating myriad externalities that negatively affect generalized respect, trust, tolerance, reciprocity and well-being.
Institutional Trust and Asian Societies: Explaining Chinese Exceptionalism to the “Paradox of Distance”
associate Professor at the Department of Sociology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia.
Abstract: The majority of citizens of most countries tend to trust the people running the government and specific institutions but not government in the abstract, a phenomenon known as “the paradox of distance”. China provides an exception to this rule. Compared to citizens of other Asian societies, Chinese citizens have more trust in national political institutions than they do in more local institutions. Is this paradox explained by the fact that the key factors identified in the trust literature - surveillance, culture, and performance- operate differently in China? A preliminary analysis of the 2005-2008 Asia Barometer Survey data demonstrates that this is in fact the case. Political fear, cultural orientation, social participation and government performance show differential effects. This is likely because in the Chinese context trust has a different meaning more akin to “metaphysical faithfulness” than it does in other societies.
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