Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital

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Introduction to Wittgenstein Centre

The Centre is a collaboration among the World Population Program of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), the Vienna Institute of Demography of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (VID/ÖAW) and the Department of Demography of the University of Vienna,

The Centre combines the partners’ strengths in the fields of demography, human capital formation and analysis of the returns to education. It builds on a highly successful collaboration that has already generated significant scientific advances. “Human capital” refers to the human resource base in terms of the number of people and their changing structure by age, gender, location, education, health status, cognitive skills and other relevant characteristics. The intent is to provide a sound scientific foundation for decision-making at various levels. Scientific advice and guidance are ensured by its International Scientific Advisory Board.

The Wittgenstein Centre aspires to be a world leader in the advancement of demographic methods and their application to the analysis of human capital and population dynamics. In assessing the effects of these forces on long-term human well-being, we combine scientific excellence in a multidisciplinary context with relevance to a global audience.

Research Areas

The scientific goal of Wittgenstein Centre’s research is to significantly advance the global frontier in modelling and understanding the drivers and consequences of changing population structures around the world – past, present and likely future. The centre explicitly addresses multiple dimensions of population structures that go beyond the conventional analysis by age and sex. Substantively, the Centre focuses particularly on the roles of human capital formation and global population ageing and on the interactions of these trends with the social, economic and natural environment. It uses the rich methodological toolbox of demography and in particular the methods of multi-dimensional population dynamics for quantitatively addressing the “quality dimension” of changing human populations.

As shown in the Chart, the research of WIC can be structured into four broad research themes that together form a coherent and comprehensive research agenda. These four themes focus on human capital formation and depletion, on modelling population dynamics, and on studying the interactions with the social, economic and natural environment. This focus on human capital is based on the broader understanding of demography as studying the changing size and composition of populations (definition according to IUSSP, the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population) notably by important sources of heterogeneity that go beyond the conventional age and sex. It applies the methods of multi-dimensional population dynamics (developed in and around IIASA in the 1970s) and gives special attention to education, health and labour force participation as constituents of human capital.

You can visit http://www.wittgensteincentre.org/en/research-themes-groups.htm for more details of the research themes and groups.

Upcoming Events

Call for Papers for the Vienna Yearbook of Population Research 2022

Special Issue on “Demographic Aspects of the COVID-19 Pandemic and its Consequences”

Deadline: 31 March 2021

Recent Publications

Governance in socioeconomic pathways and its role for future adaptive capacity

Author(s): O’Neill BC, Jiang L, KC S, Fuchs R, Pachauri S , Laidllaw E, Zhang T, Zhou W, et al.

Reference: Nature Sustainability 3: 35-41

Full Text: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41893-019-0405-0

Population aging, migration, and productivity in Europe

Author(s): Marois G , Bélanger A, & Lutz W

Reference: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: e201918988

Full Text: https://www.pnas.org/content/117/14/7690

The effect of education on determinants of climate change risks

Author(s): O’Neill BC, Jiang L, KC S, Fuchs R, Pachauri S , Laidllaw E, Zhang T, Zhou W, et al.

Reference: Nature Sustainability

Full Text: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41893-020-0512-y