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Fellow (1 September 2001 - 30 June 2002)
During my year at NIAS, I worked mainly on three topics. First, I worked on the methodology of testing rational choice theories with survey data. Two different strategies have been proposed in the literature to do this. I tried to systematize these two positions and discuss their pros and cons. Second, I analysed data from the German Family Survey 2000 to answer the question, whether there has been a 'pluralization' of living arrangements during the last decades. I found that the heterogeneity of living arrangements has increased over successive cohorts in West Germany. Finally, I worked on the effects of organisational change for the subsequent performance of organisations. I was successful in completing a paper on each of these three topics. Especially the work on pluralization will prove very useful for my future research. Overall I am very satisfied with the outcome of my stay at NIAS. It proved to be an ideal place to put old ideas to paper and to start research on new ideas.
For this work (especially on the first two topics) it was very helpful to be member of the Research Theme Group "The Danger of Community Failure". In this group we had several discussions on solidary behaviour in general, but also within families. In the group there were also some discussions concerning strategies of testing theories of solidary behaviour (which often are rational choice theories). Finally, I profited much from the many other discussions in the research group on related topics like: social choice, game theory, social norms, and community. Some of the things I learned from my colleagues will certainly stimulate the future direction of my research.
Finally, I had the opportunity to present some of the research that I did at NIAS at Dutch universities and institutes (Groningen, Utrecht, NIDI, The Hague). The audiences' responses were very useful to me as were discussions I had with co-fellows at NIAS.
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