Impact of demographic changes in Poland on local development

Date: 2015-02-02 - 2019-02-17

Supervisor: Przemysław Śleszyński

Contractors: Marek Kupiszewski, Przemysław Śleszyński, Rafał Wiśniewski, Barbara Szejgiec-Kolenda

Orderer institution: Narodowe Centrum Nauki
No.: UMO-2014/13/B/HS4/03495

(project OPUS)

Research project objectives/Hypothesis

Objective of the project is to carry out the demographic determinants of economic and social changes at the local level (gminas) with a particular reference to depopulation processes and ageing of society.

Detailed tasks involve:

  • identification of crucial demographic problems based on comprehensive local analysis;
  • examination of the impact of demographic changes (quantitative and qualitative) on local development;
  • identification and assessment of possible adaptive mechanisms for Polish gminas to new demographic conditions/realities, including analysis of reaction of local services markets to demographic changes;
  • creation of Demographic Impact Index (DII) illustration in a synthetic way the economic and demographic conditions of gminas.

Main research questions:

  1. To what extent demographic changes affect local development?
  2. Is the local economy keeping up with demographic changes and what are the possible adaptive mechanisms?

The concept of local development is a complex category, due to the multiplicity of factors its influencing. Therefore, it’s hardly definable. Local development is understood as a providing (by local authorities, enterprises, local community etc.) the best possible living conditions of residents using its internal resources (Parysek 1995, 1997, Broll 1998). Therefore, local development will include an analysis of human capital and enterprises (by gminas), taking into account the spatial availability and accessibility to the services of general interest.

Research methodologyResearch on local development, as in general studies related to socio-economic development, are burdened with the difficulties resulting from the overlap of many cause and effect relations, including those of feedback nature. That often becomes a problem with the superiority and inferiority of diverse factors.  In order to restrain such issues the three solutions are intended to be applied: 

  1. research on the cause-relations in heterogeneoustypes of communes, classified on the basis of their demographic characteristics (demographic typology);
  2. considering long time-series comparisons, in order to eliminate or minimize the factor of randomness;
  3. not limiting oneself solely to the data registered by the Central Statistical Office (Local Data Bank, censuses), but also by other administrative records.

The research will first involve developing a demographic typology for all communes in Poland and subsequently searching for patterns in these types in terms of economic development characteristics. A detailed analysis (1988-2012) leading to the achievement of the given objectives will therefore include studies in the three thematic fields:

  1. diagnostic and demographic, aiming to determine the situation and extent of population change in terms of quantity and quality;
  2. cause and effect, attempting to determine the impact of demographic factors on the level of communes local development;
  3. implementation, by identifying the theoretical grounds for communes development and conducting policy of local development.

To assess the nature and strength of cause and effect relations statistical methods will be used, such as linear and non-linear regression analysis and possibly principal component analysis. Ultimately adopted method should allow for the estimation of the expected values of random variable with fairly comparable regression models for different types of communes. Statistical methods for the analysis of data describing phenomenon, especially in terms of quantity (mass), will be one of the most widely used in the project. It is assumed to apply methods in order to detect patterns characterizing the examined populations (demographic, social, etc.), in both, structural and spatial context. Analyses used n particular include methods of correlation, regression, clustering (in the cluster – delimitating types of communes, possibly functional clusters), time series (trends) using a single- or multi-functional econometric models and, optionally, for an in-depth explanation of the studied phenomena and processes - factor analysis.

Research project impactWhile analyzing the existing literature of the subject appears a feeling of insufficiency for a more comprehensive consideration of the geographical scale in examined issues. At various spatial levels cause and effect relationships of demographic and economic development are varied, and on some occasions they are drastically and widely disparate, which is linked to diurnal, seasonal or periodical character of human activity.

Unfortunately in many publications the analyses come down, at the most, to voivodeships or even only to regions (combining several voivodeships), therefore it is no surprise that in spite of utilizing much advanced methodology these studies are unable to yield valid results. Investigation of socio-demographic changes at the local level allow for detailed identification and cognition of cause-effect relationships associated with the functioning of local economies in the context of ever changing demographic realities, including identification of bottom-up adaptive mechanisms in this area. These processes are still poorly recognized and explained, thus not allowing for more satisfying generalizations.

The project results will provide theoretical basis for better understanding of socio-economic mechanisms on a local scale, as well as enhancing the effectiveness of development policy.

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