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In an era of worldwide increasing inequalities, key social science issues about the production and reproduction of social inequality gain renewed attention. A central issue is the role played by demographic events and trajectories in producing and reproducing these inequalities. CONOPP examines the associations between the experience of childhood social disadvantage, demographic decision-making during young adulthood and subsequent economic, social and health outcomes from a country comparative perspective.


Most existing research examined the association between childhood disadvantage and adverse later life outcomes in a one societal context at a specific point in time. The key contribution of CONOPP is the analysis of cross-national variation in the strength of these associations and a focus on one general explanation: the strength of the association between childhood disadvantage and adverse later life outcomes depend on the opportunities that societies offer to abate the negative impact of economic and social deprivation. Testing this 'contexts of opportunity' hypothesis will be the key aim of the project. Three aspects of the national context will be analyzed: (1) economic aspects, such as the level of economic development and growth in a country, (2) cultural aspects, such as the extent to which social norms on family-related behaviour are operative, and (3) aspects of institutional arrangements, such as the openness of the educational system, and existing social policies. It will be tested whether the strength of the links between childhood disadvantage, young adult demographic behaviour and subsequent outcomes depend on these three aspects of 'contexts of opportunity'.


Retrospective and prospective data from the Generations and Gender Programme (GGP) will mainly be analysed by combining sophisticated statistical methods, such as multi-level analysis, latent variable analysis and sequence analysis. The project will elucidate the role of demography in the reproduction of inequalities and highlight key opportunity structures that influence the strength of the relevant links between social background, young adult demographic behaviour and subsequent outcomes.


CONOPP is funded under the 7th Framework Programme through an Advanced Grant of the European Research Council.

CONOPP: Project Description
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