Dr Joshua Wilde is an expert in demography, demographic economics, and development economics, with a particular focus on the causes and economic effects of fertility change. He is currently working on a £1.7 million UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) Frontier Research Grant, formally a European Research Council Consolidator Award, to study the determinants of natural sex ratios at birth through the SEXRATIO project.
Professor Melinda Mills, Director of the Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science and Demographic Science Unit said, ‘We are thrilled to welcome Josh Wilde to the team whose expertise in demography and economics, and the team that he is building, is a perfect complement to our growing and evolving Centre.’
Josh’s SEXRATIO project, Natural Sex Ratios at Birth: New Evidence and Implications, is developing a novel methodology that improves our understanding of maternal conditions on sex ratios at birth. His team, now based at the Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science, aim to challenge the scientific consensus on the constancy of sex ratios at birth and reconcile the contradictory findings of biological and demographic literatures. The SEXRATIO project is achieving this by developing a novel methodology that properly controls for time-invariant heterogeneity in maternal condition and confirms that maternal condition changes sex-ratios at birth.
Dr Joshua Wilde, Senior Scientist and Researcher at the Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science and Demographic Science Unit said, ‘I look forward to working with interdisciplinary experts at Oxford Population Health and the Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science to develop this methodology further. Our methodology aims to identify changes in sex ratios at birth that can help policy makers put an end to sex-selective abortion and discrimination against women and girls.’
Phase 1 of the project aims to investigate preliminary findings across various countries and settings to establish a new scientific consensus on the effect of socioeconomic status on sex ratios at birth. The new methodology will be used in phase 2 to refine global estimates of the number of missing women and provide new country-level estimates. The third and final phase of the project seeks to reconcile various long-standing puzzles in the literature on sex ratios at birth, socioeconomic factors, and maternal stress, including changing sex ratios during and after wars, economic downturns, and across racial groups.
Before joining the Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science, Josh was the Deputy Head of the Laboratory of Fertility and Well-Being at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, and an assistant professor of Economics at the University of South Florida. He is also a Research Scientist in the Population Research Center at Portland State University, and the co-creator of the Canning-Karra-Wilde (CKW) model – one of the leading tools used to calculate the Demographic Dividend.
Read Dr Joshua Wilde’s bio to find out more.