Youth Risk Behaviours as Barriers for Human (Health) Capital Accumulation
National Institute of Public Health - Center for Evaluation Research & Surveys
January 9, 2012
HEALTH RELATED BEHAVIOURS AS DETERMINANTS OF WELLBEING, Forthcoming
One key element for development is the accumulation of appropriate levels of human capital, of which health capital is an essential component. Social programmes seeking to increase human capital, such as CCT programmes, aim to incentivise investments in health, nutrition and education, assuming that such investments will translate into a larger stock of human capital that will then promote social mobility. Although there has been some discussion on the barriers and constraints that hinder the effective translation of human capital into higher income (and social mobility), less attention has been paid to factors that may counterbalance investments in human capital. Risk behaviours (i.e., behaviours that place current and future health at risk) may reduce the flow and accumulation of human capital. As engagement in these behaviours is assumed to be related to access to goods and services, it may be the case that CCT programmes could promote risk behaviours, as they relax the budgetary constraints on households and individuals. Analysing data from the Mexican CCT programme Oportunidades, I found that this programme may decrease participation in risk behaviours, although they are highly prevalent among its target population (poor households). Therefore, it is important to address them directly in order to preserve investment in human capital.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 77
Keywords: health capital, risk behaviours, adolescence, youth, Mexico
JEL Classification: I15, I25, I38
Date posted: January 9, 2012 ; Last revised: September 10, 2012
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