Event 2203 SS&H, Andrews Conference Room

An Assessment of Rapidly Evolving Migration Dynamics in Costa Rica
Abigail Weitzman, The University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Weitzman is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and a research affiliate of the Population Research Center and the Long Institute for Latin American Studies at the University of Texas. She received her PhD in Sociology from New York University in 2015, before completing a 2-year postdoctoral felllowship at the University of Michigan. Prior to completing her PhD she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Peru and Belize and worked as an intern at the United Nations Development Fund for Women.

Her research examines two interrelated questions linking social psychology and demography: how do expectations and desires influence the timing and nature of important events in people’s lives, cumulatively shaping demographic patterns and population health? And, reciprocally, how do shifting demographic circumstances influence desires, expectations, and behaviors in ways that determine individuals’ health outcomes and trajectories?

With the intersection of social psychology and demography as its central focus, her research examines (1) how trauma, adversity, and uncertainty simultaneously shape refugee family dynamics, and in turn, women’s and children’s wellbeing; (2) how women’s and men’s relative share of household resources influences intimate partner violence in India, where gender expectations remain strongly pronounced, and Peru, where gender norms are rapidly changing; (3) how the sex of firstborn children–and all the gendered expectations that parents have of children and themselves–affect parental behaviors including intimate partner violence, infidelity, and contraceptive use; (4) from where young women’s desires for sex and pregnancy arise in the U.S., and how these desires change during the transition to adulthood; (5) how exposure to natural disasters, local homicides, and familial mortalities shape relationship quality, fertility desires, and fertility-related behaviors; (6) how and why education reform in Peru has reduced violence against women and improved maternal health; and (7) how the Zika epidemic has and has not changed women’s fertility desires and ability to manifest those desires in Brazil.

This event is co-hosted with the Global Migration Center.