Unwanted secondary actions of a beneficial paradigm: turmoil in place of demographic dividend?

Authors: Michael Hilbig*,
Topics: Population Geography, Development, Third World
Keywords: Population Geography, Demography, Development Planning, Demographic Dividend, Youth Cohorts, Political Violence
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 12:40 PM / 2:20 PM
Room: Council Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The concept of a so called Demographic Dividend promotes economic growth in poor nations, based on a shift in age structure with a high cohort of active population and decreasing birth rates. Current strategies in development politics have adapted the above described paradigm (e.g. the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals) without – as it seems – questioning the concept at any time. By its 2017 annual Theme „Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth“ the African Union emphasized the importance of large youth cohorts and raised the hope for a Demographic Dividend on the african continent. But there is a different perspective, too: Peace researchers are paying attention to the linkages between large youth cohorts and the ermergence of political violence in emerging countries when they are referring to youth bulges. In my talk, I argue that the importance of institutional quality is marginalised within newly developed policies for developing countries. Instead, the main focus within these policy papers is the reduction of fertility and the development of the economy. Hindering factors which are likely to choke the intended process (such as a potential youth bulge or a lack of institutional power) seem to be neglected if not ignored. By using assemblage theory I want to identify the biopolitical powers which are underlying contemporary development policies by focussing the on fertility reduction instead of institutional quality.

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