Monday, February 18, 2008

From the First to the Second Demographic Transition

From the First to the Second Demographic Transition: An Interpretation of the Spatial Continuity of Demographic Innovation in France, Belgium and Switzerland.
R. LESTHAEGHE AND K. NEELS

Abstract


This article links spatial indicators of two demographic innovation waves to historical and contemporary covariates of both a socio-economic and a cultural nature. The two waves of innovation correspond respectively to the so called “first” and “second” demographic transitions (FDT, SDT). A connection is made between the emergence of spatial demographic patterns and A.J. Coale’s three preconditions for innovation, i.e. “readiness”, “willingness” and “ability” (RWA-model) and to the influence of networks in shaping relatively stable regional subcultures. Since the RWA-model is of the “bottleneck” type, it is expected that the slowest moving or most resistant condition will largely determine the spatial outcome of the two demographic transitions. In the instances of French d├ępartements, Belgian arrondissements and Swiss cantons clear statistical associations emerge between indicators of both FDT and SDT and cultural indicators. This suggests that the “willingness” condition, as reflected in regional subcultures, has been the dominant bottleneck in both waves of demographic innovation. The Swiss evidence is, however, weaker than that for France and Belgium despite the fact that, here too, associations are in the expected direction.

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