This animated introduction to The Generations & Gender Programme explains the purpose, function and value of a social science research infrastructure to the domains of public policy and research.
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The Generations & Gender Programme Research Infrastructure provides scientists and policy makers with high quality and timely data about families and life course trajectories of individuals to enable researchers to contribute insights and answers to current societal and public policy challenges.
The GGP provides users with an open-access data source of cross-nationally comparative surveys and contextual data.
Started under the umbrella of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the GGP infrastructure is run by institutes with strong traditions in academic research on population and family change and on survey methodology. The UNECE coordinated the GGP until 2009 and continues to provide critical services to the infrastructure.
The GGP survey focuses on inter-generational and gender relations between people, expressed in care arrangements and the organization of paid and unpaid work. These features significantly improve the knowledge base for social science and policy-making in Europe and other developed countries. Crucial to understanding behaviours across the life course is the longitudinal panel design of the GGP surveys. The contextual database provides information on variations in context over time through more than 100 indicators from 60 countries in multiple regions as these are believed to have an impact on relationships between genders and generations.
In an increasingly globalized world, Europe faces major social, economic, cultural and technological challenges. In Europe 2020, the European Union develops a strategy “to help us come out stronger from the crisis and turn the EU into a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy delivering high levels of employment, productivity and social cohesion”. To realize the smart, sustainable and inclusive growth that the EU envisages, the human capital of Europe’s populations is the continent’s largest asset.
To capitalize on that asset calls for a constant reappraisal of how Europeans arrange their lives, both as individuals, as family units and as countries. The economic crisis affects not only day-to-day decisions, but also fundamental choices at all stages of people’s lives: marriage and childbearing, the combination of employment and caring responsibilities for the young and the old, retirement, housing, and ageing well. How Europeans cope with these fundamental choices has important consequences for their personal well-being as well as for the adaptability and competitiveness of the societies in which they live. Given the extent and urgency of the challenges facing Europe’s populations, policy makers and the general public require scientific information on how to effectively deal with them. In order for the social sciences to respond to current policy challenges with appropriate and sustainable responses, high-quality data are essential.
The first GGP panel waves were conducted in 2004. To date, at least one wave of the Generations & Gender Survey has been conducted in 20 European and 4 non-European countries. The GGP is unique in its large coverage of Central and East European countries, and is also the only comparative longitudinal panel study that covers the entire adult age range. A new round of data collection is planned for 2020.
The Generations and Gender Programme (GGP) was launched in 2000 by the Population Unit of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and has been coordinated by the Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute since 2009. It is a social science Research Infrastructure that provides harmonized, large-scale, longitudinal, cross-national panel data on individual life courses and family dynamics. Over time, the GGP follows respondents through relationships, marriages, parenthood, divorces, deaths and many of the opportunities and challenges that people face along the way. It then tracks the causes and consequences of these events at the individual and societal levels. The contextual database complements the survey data with regional and national level indicators to help increase our understanding of the role policy and other contextual factors play in individuals’ and families’ lives. These open access data resources, curated by the GGP, are ideally suited to formulate scientifically-informed and policy-relevant answers to key societal questions.
The GGP is a successor to the Fertility and Family Survey (FFS) which was conducted in the 1990s. The FFS was a cross-nationally comparative survey programme conducted by the Population Unit of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. The survey was carried on in 24 countries during the 1990s. The FFS micro-level data is compatible and comparable with the GGP datasets enabling analysis of longer periods of time and different populations.
From its inception, the GGP has strongly relied upon the commitment of the participating institutions to achieve its large-scale ambition. The GGP as it exists today is possible due to the efforts of its Consortium comprised of renowned representatives of international institutes with strong traditions in academic research on population, family change and survey methodology. At the national level, participating institutions have invested major fundraising efforts to implement the national micro- and macro-level data collections, with most funds being provided either by national governments, by statistical offices and/or by national science foundations. Some participating institutions have invested considerable funds in data collection from their own resources. At the international level, the coordination and development of the GGP relies heavily on Consortium Board institutions.
Some of the GGP’s key milestones include:
The GGP’s unique data resources continue to strengthen the knowledge base for social science and public policymaking in Europe and developed countries elsewhere.
Previous and current coordinators:
Previous and current Chairs of the Consortium Board:
The Generations and Gender Programme (GGP) is pleased to announce that it will be carrying out a new round of data collection in 2020. The aim of the GGP is to deliver high quality data for scientific research on population dynamics and family change, relationships between generations, and changes in the social roles of women and men, accounting for economic, social and cultural contexts. The GGP is a world leader on issues of fertility decisions, work-life balance, transition to adulthood, and intergenerational exchanges. So far, more than twenty countries have participated in our programme.
The new round of data collection promises to bring fresh insights on low fertility, the complex life trajectories of young adults, and the dynamics of families. To do so it will use a common, centrally administered questionnaire, the latest survey technologies, and will offer the possibility of multi-mode of data collection.
Countries interested in participating are asked to contact the GGP Coordination Team as soon as possible. The GGP provides extensive support to national teams on all steps of the data life cycle including translation, sampling, fieldwork, harmonization and documentation. Importantly, the GGP operates under an open data access principle allowing registered users worldwide access to the harmonized data.
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There are a number of surveys with which the Generations and Gender Survey collaborates its efforts to understand family and relationship dynamics across the lifecourse:
Up till now, 20 countries have conducted at least one wave of data collection. The comparative focus allows analyses of the ways in which policies, culture and economic circumstances influence dependencies between men and women and between the young and the old.
The GGP survey applies a panel design – collecting information on the same persons at three-year intervals – to allow the examination of causes and consequences of inequalities between genders and generations. Twelve countries have thus far conducted at least two waves of the GGP survey.
The GGP survey has an average of 10,000 respondents per country, making it possible to study numerical minorities and uncommon events.
The GGP collects data on the whole life course by interviewing respondents aged 18-79. It also enables analysis of multiple generations by asking extensive questions about intergenerational exchange and support
Alongside the micro data collected via surveys, the GGP has a contextual database with over 100 indicators which cover not only the year of the survey but also retrospective indicators covering the past 40 years to be used alongside the retrospective data in the surveys.
The GGS questionnaire is developed and maintained by a team of leading social scientists from demography, sociology and economics. The questionnaire seeks to bring together a wide range of subjects that examine the causes and consequences of family change.