Jeroen Smits

Social researcher with a passion for database building


Economic and Human Development

Micro and macro-level determinants of participation in education of children in developing countries

This project aims at gaining insight in the effects of socio-economic, cultural, demographic and geographic (family) background characteristics and of characteristics of the regional, national and transnational context on the educational participation of children in developing countries. To achieve this aim, predictions from existing micro and macro-level theories are integrated into one comprehensive theoretical framework aimed at understanding why some children in some developing countries go to school and other children in other developing countries don't. To test the hypotheses derived from this framework, a database is constructed with individual and household level information on more than 2 million children in over 90 developing countries. This database will be enriched with economic, geographic, political and cultural characteristics of the regional, national and transnational context the children are living in. Using multilevel analysis, the independent effects of the factors at each level of aggregation on the participation in primary and secondary educational of the children are determined. On the basis of the findings, a simulation model will be constructed aimed at developing and testing tailor-made policy measures for improving the educational participation of children where this is necessary.

This project is sponsored by a VIDI grant of the Innovational Research Incentives Scheme of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO)

Length of life inequality around the globe

In this project, a database has been built that contains over 8000 life tables for more than 200 countries covering a period that for part of the countries goes back into the 19th or even 18th century. This database is used to study the degree to which the available years of life are distributed (un)equally among the adult (15+) population members and to explain the variation among countries in this respect.

(with Christiaan Monden of the Dept. Social Cultural Sciences of Tilburg University)

Website Length of Life Project

Impact of reproductive health services on socio-economic development in sub-saharan Africa

Whereas knowledge regarding the operational design of reproductive health services is increasingly available, its impact on social and economic development is still poorly understood. This project analyzes the relationships and interactions between reproductive health and poverty at individual/household, community and district level. Special attention is given to the likelihood of RH shocks and the impact of availability and use of various types of reproductive health services on (changes in) assets and investment behaviour. The project a joint partnership with prof. Ruben (Centre for International Development Issues, CIDIN, RU), Dr. Baltussen (Department of Public Health, UMC st Radboud, RU), prof. Kamazima (Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar-Es-Salaam) and prof. Kwesigabo (Economics, Dar-Es-Salaam University). The project is sponsored by the Netherlands Scientific Organization (NWO/WOTRO) and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

Database developing World (DDW)

In the last decades, many large-scale representative household surveys have been conducted in developing countries. In these surveys, for millions of individuals, demographic, socio-economic, health and other information has been gathered. At this moment, the data from these surveys cover over 100 countries in all regions of the developing world (Latin America, Caribbean, Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, South-East Europe, Middle East, Central Asia, South Asia and South-East Asia). In the DDW these data sets are brought together, made comparable, and enriched with contextual data at the subnational and national level. In this way, a unique window to the developing world is created that makes it possible to study important processes taking place there on a scale and with a degree of detail that has never been possible before.

Objectives of the DDW

  • Creating the possibility to analyze and monitor large-scale demographic, socio-economic, behavioral, political, cultural, health, institutional and environmental changes taking place throughout the developing world.

  • Developing indicators at the level of regions/provinces within countries that make it possible to monitor changes at the sub-national level with a degree of detail that has not been possible before. These indicators can be used scientifically, but also for creating detailed overview scans of regions for political or humanitarian purposes.

  • To connect the information in the database via the available geographic coordinates with existing information from other sources (like satellite images) on the physical, geographical and biological environment in which the households are living. In this way, information from both kinds of sources can be related to each other and large-scale analyses of the interaction between man and environment for the developing world can take place.

  • Updating the database continuously with data from new surveys and other sources, filling in important gaps by additional data collection, and developing new techniques to integrate, enrich, and analyze the multiple-source multi-level data in the DDW.

  • Creating user-friendly interfaces for on-line accessing and analyzing subsamples of the data and developing new ways to make the information in the database available to a broad audience.

Website database Developing World

Other projects

Besides my main research projects, I am involved in a number of other non-commercial research activities, mostly in cooperation with researchers of other institutes:

  • Female height, socio-economic status, and child mortality in developing countries
    (with Christiaan Monden of the Dept. Social Cultural Sciences of Tilburg University)

  • The labor force participation of women in the Islamic world
    (with Mieke Verloo and Niels Spierings of the Department of Political Sciences of Radboud University Nijmegen)

  • Gender, development and language issues in Turkey and the Arab countries
    (with Ayse Gündüz-Hosgör of the Sociological Department of Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara)

  • Operating hours, working time, and employment in Europe
    (with Lei Delsen of the Department of Economics of Radboud University Nijmegen (RUN) and the other participants in the European Union EUCOWE project)

  • Ethnic intermarriage and social cohesion
    (with Christiaan Monden of the Dept. Social Cultural Sciences of Tilburg University)