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Urbanisation and inequalities in a post-Malthusian context: implications for theory and policy

Urbanisation and inequalities in a post-Malthusian context: implications for theory and policy
Urbanisation and inequalities in a post-Malthusian context: implications for theory and policy
The phenomenon of rapid global urbanisation, urban trends and processes have recently become a topic of increased scholarly inquiry. Yet, little attention has been paid to how urbanisation fits within the post-Malthusian framework and how it affects the most basic resources essential for human survival. By attempting to fill this gap, this thesis contributes, both conceptually and empirically, to the current body of literature on population and development.

The thesis is composed of three stand-alone yet interconnected papers (Chapters 3-5), each addressing a set of distinct research problems and questions. Each paper uses a separate dataset developed for the purpose of the study, analysed by means of regression modelling. While anchored in the Malthusian and post-Malthusian literature, all papers are supplemented by additional theoretical and conceptual lines of thought, thus aiming to adapt a holistic approach.

Paper One seeks to reorient the Malthusian theory by proposing an initial post-Malthusian framework with a focus on the urbanisation-food security nexus. The quantitative analysis of country-level data confirms that urban growth has a significant negative impact on food security and that the strength of this association is altered by the human development context. In particular, countries’ education has been found to have a significant attenuating effect on the relationship between urban growth and food in security risk.

The research questions in Paper Two have been motivated by the Simonian arguments related to the power of human capital in overcoming challenges presented by population growth. The paper tests five interrelated hypotheses pertaining to the impacts of urbanisation on households’ access to safe drinking water in the least developed countries (LDCs), as well as the presumed mitigating impact of human capital on these associations. The results show a differential effect of urbanisation on water access, which is moderated by households’ human capital.

Finally, Paper Three aims to examine intra-urban inequalities in children’s nutritional outcomes in selected LDCs experiencing differen t pace of urbanisation. The results confirm that most rapidly urbanising LDCs suffer from greater intra-urban inequalities, which are exacerbated by parents’ lack of education. In addition, mother’s socio-economic characteristics and child’s birth weight are confirmed to be significant predictors of child undernutrition.

Overall, this research highlights that the Malthusian theory remains a relevant source of inspiration for contemporary population and development studies; in particular with reference to investigating the determinants of basic necessities, such as food and water. Inasmuch, the revised post-Malthusian framework can constitute a useful basis for future empirical studies and policymaking which deal with practical challenges resulting from global urbanisation processes.
Szabo, Sylvia
01d6bb83-2775-4470-aa2b-b6afbf936187
Szabo, Sylvia
01d6bb83-2775-4470-aa2b-b6afbf936187
Padmadas, Sabu
64b6ab89-152b-48a3-838b-e9167964b508
Falkingham, Jane
8df36615-1547-4a6d-ad55-aa9496e85519

Szabo, Sylvia (2014) Urbanisation and inequalities in a post-Malthusian context: implications for theory and policy. University of Southampton, School of Social Sciences, Doctoral Thesis, 313pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

The phenomenon of rapid global urbanisation, urban trends and processes have recently become a topic of increased scholarly inquiry. Yet, little attention has been paid to how urbanisation fits within the post-Malthusian framework and how it affects the most basic resources essential for human survival. By attempting to fill this gap, this thesis contributes, both conceptually and empirically, to the current body of literature on population and development.

The thesis is composed of three stand-alone yet interconnected papers (Chapters 3-5), each addressing a set of distinct research problems and questions. Each paper uses a separate dataset developed for the purpose of the study, analysed by means of regression modelling. While anchored in the Malthusian and post-Malthusian literature, all papers are supplemented by additional theoretical and conceptual lines of thought, thus aiming to adapt a holistic approach.

Paper One seeks to reorient the Malthusian theory by proposing an initial post-Malthusian framework with a focus on the urbanisation-food security nexus. The quantitative analysis of country-level data confirms that urban growth has a significant negative impact on food security and that the strength of this association is altered by the human development context. In particular, countries’ education has been found to have a significant attenuating effect on the relationship between urban growth and food in security risk.

The research questions in Paper Two have been motivated by the Simonian arguments related to the power of human capital in overcoming challenges presented by population growth. The paper tests five interrelated hypotheses pertaining to the impacts of urbanisation on households’ access to safe drinking water in the least developed countries (LDCs), as well as the presumed mitigating impact of human capital on these associations. The results show a differential effect of urbanisation on water access, which is moderated by households’ human capital.

Finally, Paper Three aims to examine intra-urban inequalities in children’s nutritional outcomes in selected LDCs experiencing differen t pace of urbanisation. The results confirm that most rapidly urbanising LDCs suffer from greater intra-urban inequalities, which are exacerbated by parents’ lack of education. In addition, mother’s socio-economic characteristics and child’s birth weight are confirmed to be significant predictors of child undernutrition.

Overall, this research highlights that the Malthusian theory remains a relevant source of inspiration for contemporary population and development studies; in particular with reference to investigating the determinants of basic necessities, such as food and water. Inasmuch, the revised post-Malthusian framework can constitute a useful basis for future empirical studies and policymaking which deal with practical challenges resulting from global urbanisation processes.

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Published date: 2014
Organisations: University of Southampton, Social Sciences

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 371743
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/371743
PURE UUID: 5d6b3dd8-d84f-4e88-8340-6cfa68057077
ORCID for Sabu Padmadas: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-6538-9374
ORCID for Jane Falkingham: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-7135-5875

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 13 Nov 2014 12:49
Last modified: 16 Oct 2018 00:34

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