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The Other Population Crisis

What Governments Can Do about Falling Birth Rates

Steven Philip Kramer

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In many developed countries, population decline poses economic and social strains and may even threaten national security. Through historical-political case studies of Sweden, France, Italy, Japan, and Singapore, The Other Population Crisis explores the motivations, politics, programming, and consequences of national efforts to promote births.

Steven Philip Kramer finds a significant government role in stopping declines in birth rates. Sweden’s and France’s pro-natalist programs, which have succeeded, share the characteristics of being universal, not means-tested, and based on gender equality…

In many developed countries, population decline poses economic and social strains and may even threaten national security. Through historical-political case studies of Sweden, France, Italy, Japan, and Singapore, The Other Population Crisis explores the motivations, politics, programming, and consequences of national efforts to promote births.

Steven Philip Kramer finds a significant government role in stopping declines in birth rates. Sweden’s and France’s pro-natalist programs, which have succeeded, share the characteristics of being universal, not means-tested, and based on gender equality and making it easy for women to balance work and family. The programs in Italy, Japan, and Singapore, which have failed so far, have not devoted sufficient resources consistently enough to make a difference and do not support gender equality and women’s work-family balance, Kramer finds.

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The Other Population Crisis

Steven Philip Kramer

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Its comparison of five cases of countries with population issues, the policies they have used (or failed to use), and the impact of those policies makes an important contribution to several fields: comparative social and social policy history, comparative social policy analysis, demography, and women’s/feminist studies.

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Steven Philip Kramer

Steven Philip Kramer is professor of grand strategy at the Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy, National Defense University, in Washington, D.C. He was a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center from 2010–11.
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