14 December 2016
Klosterneuburg, Austria

Human capital as the root cause of development and policy priority in the 21st century

Wolfgang Lutz will discuss multi-dimensional demographic analysis as part of the  IST Science and Society Lecture series at the Institute of Science and Technology.

Rural Education in India © Samrat35 | Dreamstime

Rural Education in India © Samrat35 | Dreamstime

The Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria), founded in 2009, is a international institute dedicated to basic research and graduate education in the natural and mathematical sciences, located in Klosterneuburg on the outskirts of Vienna. As leading expert in the study of population and human capital, World Population Program (POP) Director Wolfgang Lutz was invited to give an IST Science and Society Lecture entitled “Human capital as the root cause of development and policy priority for the 21st century”.

Since 1984 at IIASA, Lutz has worked on family demography, fertility analysis, population projection, and the interaction between population and environment. Together with his colleagues at POP, he has been expanding demographic methods to make them more relevant for the analysis of contemporary global policy challenges. In particular, the group has operationalized the methods of multi-dimensional population dynamics by level of highest educational attainment for all countries in the world and produced, through this, the “human core” of the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs)—the new future scenarios broadly agreed by the global environmental change research community.

Lutz has authored a series of world population projections produced at IIASA and has developed approaches for projecting education and human capital. The latest set of population projections was put together by researchers at POP in collaboration with colleagues at the Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU) based on the broadest ever international review about what we know today about the drivers of fertility, mortality, migration, and education in different parts of the world and what we can assume for the future. It was published in 2014 in a massive volume with 1056 pages entitled “World Population and Human Capital in the 21st Century” (eds. W. Lutz, W. Butz and Samir KC) and the Wittgenstein Centre Data Explorer. This effort includes projection results for all countries in the world by age, sex and level of education and is currently likely the most comprehensive assessment of the global state of knowledge about future population and human capital trends. 

Event details:

IST Science and Society Lecture

Date: 14 December 2016, 5PM

Location: Raiffeisen Lecture Hall, IST Austria, Klosterneuburg

Registration&Information: http://ist.ac.at/events/community-events/2016/ist-science-and-society-lecture-wolfgang-lutz/date/813/

Free shuttle buses are provided to/from campus.


Human capital as the root cause of development and policy priority for the 21st century

Wolfgang Lutz will review the state of the art in the multi-dimensional demographic analysis of changing population sizes and structures. He will also introduce reconstructions of the age, sex and education structures for all countries in the world to 1970 and present alternative scenarios to 2100 following the narratives of the SSPs (Shared Socio-economic Pathways) used in the Climate Change research community. In the second part of the lecture, Lutz will show how these new data by level of education allowed for new assessments of the role of human capital as a driver of social and economic development and a general determinant of resilience and adaptive capacity to all kinds of challenges including already unavoidable climate change. It will give specific attention to the role of female education in lowering birth rates and slowing world population growth. These research findings suggest clear policy priorities on education and health as fundamental prerequisites for most other desirable outcomes.

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Last edited: 17 November 2016


Wolfgang Lutz

Acting Research Group Leader and Principal Research Scholar Social Cohesion, Health, and Wellbeing Research Group - Population and Just Societies Program

Principal Research Scholar and Senior Program Advisor Population and Just Societies Program

T +43(0) 2236 807 294

Population Projections

Research at POP

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International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313