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  • Religious Affiliation and Mortality in Switzerland, 1991-2004 - M. Lerch, M. Oris, P. Wanner, Y. Forney
  • Changes in Labour Market Status Surrounding Union Dissolution in France - C. Bonnet, A. Solaz, E. Algava
  • Web Surveys in the Social Sciences: An Overview - D. Frippiat, N. Marquis


  • Fertility Transition in India between 1977 and 2004. Analysis using Parity Progression Ratios - T. Spoorenberg
  • Economic and Non-Economic Determinants of Return Migration: Evidence from Rural Thailand - M. Piotrowski, Y. Tong



Religious Affiliation and Mortality in Switzerland, 1991-2004
Mathias Lerch, Michel Oris, Philippe Wanner and Yannic Forney

As in other European countries, the religious landscape of Switzerland has diversified over the last forty years, with a movement away from the traditional institutions and a rapid expansion of minority religions. Taking advantage of the Swiss statistical system, which records residents’ religion in the census and in vital records, the mortality differentials over the period 1991-2004 are analysed according to self-reported religious affiliation. Using record linkage techniques, it is possible not only to assess the quality of these data with a view to correcting aggregate estimates, but also to adopt an individualized and multivariate approach to the relation between religion and mortality by cause of death. The analysis reveals significant survival differentials between religious groups, probably linked to differences in lifestyle. A sociological interpretation of the results supports the hypothesis of a mortality gradient by intensity of religious belief in Switzerland.

Changes in Labour Market Status Surrounding Union Dissolution in France
Carole Bonnet, Anne Solaz and Elisabeth Algava

In France, as in many other countries, conjugal separation has become increasingly common over the last few decades. While the economic consequences of separation have generated an abundant international literature, research on this question is still rare in France, doubtless for lack of suitable data. This article analyses the labour force participation of men and women in the two years following the first separation. To obtain a sample of sufficient size, two retrospective surveys based on similar occupational history calendars (Jeunes et Carrières 1997 and Familles et Employeurs 2005) were grouped together. Propensity score matching techniques were used to compare separated men and women with those still in a union. For separated men, the risk of unemployment increases after separation. Inactive women who separate return to the labour force more frequently than other inactive women. Their return to work is strongly influenced by the age of their children at the time of separation, much more markedly so than for women who remain in a union. The effects of separation are stronger when access to the labour market is difficult; the sharpest rise in unemployment after separation is observed in the period just after 1990. Last, high-educated men and women (who have completed upper secondary education or higher) are better protected against the effects of separation than the low-educated.

Web Surveys in the Social Sciences: An Overview
Didier Frippiat and Nicolas Marquis

There has been a huge increase in the number of social science surveys conducted over the Internet in the last decade, especially in the area of quantitative research. Interest in this method has generated abundant literature, almost all of it in English-speaking world. The present article provides an exhaustive list of the questions raised in the literature by this survey method. They fall into two categories: issues relating to sampling procedures (who exactly responds to Web surveys?) and concerns about effects of the survey mode (what is the quality of responses elicited by Web surveys?). While there is consensus in one or two areas, researchers’ analyses are otherwise widely divergent. Many agree that random sampling is extremely difficult to achieve over the Internet, but the procedures used to compensate for sampling bias (weighting, post-stratification, propensity score adjustment) are strongly contested. Similarly, regarding the use of new technologies for innovative questionnaire design, studies demonstrating real and reproducible effects are still few and far between. The present article, which also cites examples of good practice, concludes by setting out the vital precautions to taken when designing a Web survey for social science research.

Fertility Transition in India between 1977 and 2004. Analysis using Parity Progression Ratios
Thomas Spoorenberg

This short paper offers an original look at the fertility transition in India through the lens of the period parity progression ratios (PPPRs). Taking advantage of nearly 300,000 birth history data collected in three nationally representative surveys (National Family Health Survey, NFHS) conducted in 1992-1993, 1998-1999 and 2005-2006, fertility changes by parity are described from 1977 to 2004. The data indicate that the decline of fertility in India over the last 25 years has been primarily caused by a reduction of third and higher-order births and that a two-child family model is therefore emerging in the country. To assess the parity-based analysis, lifetime average parities are computed and compared to independently derived total fertility estimates from the Sample Registration System (SRS). The results show that the use of the parity progression ratios in the analysis of Indian survey data yields fairly consistent fertility levels and trends in comparison with traditional total fertility estimates obtained from the SRS and that the PPPRs present thus an alternative tool to estimate the consistency and quality of total fertility estimates derived from other data sources.

Economic and Non-Economic Determinants of Return Migration: Evidence from Rural Thailand
Martin Piotrowski, Yuying Tong

Using a cohort of 3,021 young migrants from rural Thailand, we examine economic and non-economic determinants of return migration. We ‘follow’ this cohort prospectively for sixteen years from preadolescence to young adulthood. Data come from the Nang Rong project, a longitudinal study of an agrarian migration-sending area in the Northeast region which collected information over three waves (in 1984, 1994, and 2000). Our research extends beyond the economic ‘success-failure’ dichotomy by examining non-economic institutional factors determining return. We find evidence of negative human capital selection, but we also find that connections to origin family members (including children, spouse, and parents) are important determinants of return. The effects of these non-economic family-related factors are as strong in magnitude as economic effects in determining return.

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