AIM AND STRUCTURE OF THE DIALOG PROJECT
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The main aim of the DIALOG Project ('DIALOG - Population Policy Acceptance Study - The Viewpoint of Citizens and Policy Actors Regarding the Management of Population Related Change'), funded and promoted by the European Commission for three years (January 2003 to December 2005), is to contribute to demographic challenges in Europe by international comparative studies on family changes, low fertility and gender equity and population ageing. Fertility trends and population ageing in the DIALOG countries, presented briefly, show the demographic background of the project. Demographers from 15 European countries took part in the analysis of the standardised surveys on demographic change and population policy acceptance, carried out with the help of national resources. They were: Austria, Belgium (only Flanders), Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and Switzerland (without survey data). It was of great benefit to the project that many of the new EU member states participated in the survey. Analysing the viewpoints of citizens in Europe can lead to a scientifically better understanding of the intentions of individuals, and can shed light on their preferences and attitudes towards reproductive behaviour, partnership and family formation. Such research enables demographers and sociologists to look at actors on the micro-level in order to find explanations concerning issues like the low fertility. It is also possible to find out what people expect from policy-makers and how they assess their influence on one's actions and decisions. Likewise, attitudes towards the elderly, views on living arrangements in old age, on support provided and expected, and on ageing-related policies are considered. A second important element of the DIALOG Project is the Delphi Study, which complements the attitudes and expectations of citizens by adding the viewpoints of experts and policy-makers concerning demographic development until 2030. It offers experts the option of constructing scenarios based on their professional perspectives. The DIALOG Project has been co-ordinated by the Bundesinstitut für Bevölkerungsforschung (BiB) in Wiesbaden and the authoress - its main co-ordinator explains how the research has been structured and organised. Beside working papers published by the BiB and national publications the two-volume final monograph 'People, Population Change and Policies' will be published.
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