POLI 227 Final: Week 5 Article Notes:Lionel Beehner, “The Effects of ‘Youth Bulge’ on Civil Conflicts,” andJustin Yifu Lin, “Youth Bulge: A Demographic Dividend or a Demographic Bomb in Developing Countries?,”

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27 Jul 2016
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Beehner-Youth Bulge 22:43
Population Action International(PAI)- a Washington based private advocacy
group: correlation between countries prone to civil conflicts and those with
young populations- “youth bulge”- destabilize
Youth Bulge theory: rapidly growing youth=unemployment and disaffected
youths who are more likely to join rebel or terrorist groups-countries with
weak political institutions are more vulnerable to the violence and social
unrest.
Origins of the theory:
Gunnar Heinsohn- mid 1990s(coined the theory)
Gary Fuller and Jack A. Goldstone: demographic transitions/ moving from
high to low fertility and mortality rates in developing regions- vulnerable to
civil conflict.
Growth in working-age pop. =unemployment=fuels frustrations
Increases likelihood of youth advancing economically by extralegal means
The youth has fewer responsibilities= more likely to take up arms
1970-1999: 80% of civil conflicts in countries where 60% of pop. Were
under age of 30(PAI)
67 countries with youth bulge- 60 have social unrest and violence
corruption, ethno-religious tensions, poverty and poor political institutions
are other factors
History:
18th France- spike in pop.=food=inflation=social inresrt
Where-Today:
Sub-saharan Africa, southern asia, the middle east, and the pacific islands
62 countries “very young”- 2/3 of pop. Are under 30, and less than 6 are
above the age of 60
middle east- 60% under 25
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Other factors that cause youth-bulge related violence:
1)Rapid urbanization- cities lack resources to accommodate incoming rural
workers=black market activities=gangs
2)Heightened expectations among job seekes- skilled labor with no
jobs=social unrest
3)Environment stresses- Youth bulge often leads to degradation of forests,
water, supples and arable land- conflict over scare resources(Sub-saharan
Africa)
Bad thing?
Long run- economically productive pop.=economic gains- demographic
dividend(east asia)- educate young people and create jobs
May help shape politics for the better
Policy to fight youth bulge:
1. Create jobs(arab world- important)
2. Improve access to family planning measures: reproductive health
care/contraception programs
3. Reduce infant mortality rates
4. Do nothing
How does youth bulge affect US foreign policy:
Neglected area
Fragile states strategy(January 2005 plan): that focuses develppmental
assistance on conflict-prone states.
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Youth Bulge-Lin 22:43
Causes: it is often due to a stage of development where a country achieves
reduced infant mortality rates but mothers still have high fertility rates
Today:
The pop. Between 15-29, 7% higher for less developed
Africa- 40% is under 15, 70% under 30
The countrys dependency ratio: the ratio of the non-working age population
to the working age population- with youth bulge, the dependency ratio
declines.
If the youth bulge doesn’t find employment or good income it will cause
social and political instability
The basic measure of a country’s success in turning the youth bulge into a
demographic dividend is the youth unemployment rate.
Troubling: middle east, north Africa, Europe and central asia- youth
unemployment is 20%+
East Asian economies have turned the youth bulge into a demographic
dividend- Korea
China- dependency ratio declined- generating new jobs
North Africa- dependency ratio declined but youth unemployment is a
problem
The traditional policy response: Prepare the youthful supply of labor:
Conventional approach is to make the young people ready with skills/human
capital to enhance productivity in labor market
The 2007 World Development Report, Development and the next
generation:
1. Opportunities
2. Capabilities
3. Second chances
4. Basic skills
5. Access to sendary and tertiary education
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