May 1, 2023

Betz Awarded Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award to Norway

Michael Betz has been awarded a 2023-2024 Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award to Norway to study “COVID-19’s impact on fertility in Norway and the United States.”

Michael Betz, associate professor, Department of Human Sciences in the College of Education and Human Ecology, has been awarded a 2023-2024 Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award to Norway to study “COVID-19’s impact on fertility in Norway and the United States.”

From August – December 2023, Betz will assess how COVID-19 impacted fertility decisions in Norway and the U.S. and uncover the extent to which differences in pre-pandemic social welfare programs and pandemic policy responses influenced these outcomes.

“This research will take place at the Norwegian Institute for Public Health’s Centre for Fertility and Health (CeFH). CeFH’s primary research focus is to advance understanding of the health implications of changing fertility patterns and family structures and is home to a wide range of world-class scholars investigating questions surrounding these issues,” Betz explains. “I will work with CeFH staff to leverage institutional expertise on fertility and marriage issues, social welfare programs, and pandemic policy responses specific to the Norwegian context. CeFH researchers have access to Norway’s unparalleled register datasets that cover a wide breadth of topics, including fertility and marriage outcomes. These data provide exceptional detail on a wealth of personal characteristics central to the proposed analysis.”

“The results of this study will have important implications for policymakers in Norway and the U.S. — but also globally — as they consider how to mitigate the impact of future economic shocks. As climate change continues to increase the prevalence of severe weather events and the likelihood of human exposure to novel zoonotic pathogens requiring public health responses similar to COVID-19, it will be important for policymakers to understand how responses to the COVID-19 pandemic produced heterogeneous outcomes across different social contexts and policy environments,” Betz clarifies.

Betz looks forward long-term fruitful research collaborations as a result of this Fulbright project. “My aim is that this project will provide substantial and lasting benefit to all parties involved. I envision this as the first of many projects related to fertility and marriage in Norway. I am certain that I will be exposed to new lines of thinking and empirical methodologies—in addition to new data sources—that will permanently impact my scholarly work,” Betz explains.

The Fulbright Scholar Program is administered by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars and is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State.

For more information about the Fulbright Scholar Program, contact Joanna Kukielka-Blaser. View a complete list of Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program recipients.