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Seminar “Spatial Inequality in cause-specific mortality in Europe: Empirical evidence and future research directions”

The scientific seminar “Modern Demography” was held on 30 May 2019. The speaker was Pavel Grigoriev, PhD, Research Scientist at the Laboratory of Demographic Data, Max Planck Institute for demographic research.

At the beginning of his speech Pavel Grigoriev gave a short insight into the history of spatial demography, pointing, that recent years, it becomes popular again. First of all researchers are interested in the so-called "environmental effect", or "context effect", i.e. how fact of living in a certain area (in a certain context, or environment) affects the outcome of certain demographic events and, among other things, determines the spatial inequality in various demographic processes.

Pavel Grigoriev shared the main results of his research with the audience. They were mainly dedicated to the analysis of spatial differences in mortality and cause-specific mortality (primarily due to the causes resulting from hazardous alcohol consumption) in Eastern Europe - Belarus, Lithuania, Russia and Poland. It was shown how long gone "historical boundaries" and their corresponding historical context continues to have a significant impact on patterns of alcohol consumption and, consequently, on mortality from alcohol-related causes of death. Thus, it was shown that the current national boundaries are not always "visible" on the cause-specific mortality maps, even though countries may have different socio-economic conditions, political systems or health care policies (e.g. Lithuania and Belarus).

At the end of his speech, Pavel Grigoriev introduced the extensive plans for further research dedicated to the phenomena. It is expected that spatial cause-specific mortality features will be studied for the whole European Union at the small area level (NUTS-3) and in the number of neighbouring countries, starting at least since 1999. The aim of this study is to reveal the mechanisms of convergence and divergence of mortality at the small area level, to answer the question of whether the state borders (national boundaries) determine the differences in epidemiological patterns of mortality, to examine the effectiveness of different health policies and to gain an insight into the cultural and historical determinants of mortality in Europe.