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Life Expectancy at Birth: the Numbers Behind the Means


Richard Lindert Zijdeman

International Institute of Social History, NL
About Richard

Richard Zijdeman obtained his Phd in sociology and focuses on long term patterns of occupational stratification in Western countries over the past 200 years. Methodologically he is specialized in historical measures of occupational status and multilevel models accounting for complex variance structures. Currently his main roles are Chief Data Officer at the International Institute of Social History and project lead for the structured data component of the the Common Lab Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities (CLARIAH). For the latter his team is building an infra-structure to transpose historical datasets (including GIS) to Linked Open Data, enhancing the connectivity of datasets as well as the reproducibility of research.

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Datasets spanning long periods of time, are crucial to our understanding of a range of phenomena, both within as outside social and economic history. For various processes, from social inequality to climate change, only change gradually, requiring long periods of time to observe and to explain change. Moreover, data spanning longer periods of time help us to unravel causality issues in the processes we study. Finally, time series data help us put contemporary phenomena in perspective.

How to Cite: Zijdeman, R.L., 2017. Life Expectancy at Birth: the Numbers Behind the Means. TSEG - The Low Countries Journal of Social and Economic History, 14(2), pp.85–103. DOI:
Published on 22 Jun 2017.
Peer Reviewed


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