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Spatial inequality and aspirations for economic inclusion among Latin American youth


  • Cazzuffi, Chiara
  • Díaz, Vivián
  • Fernández, Juan
  • Leyton, Cristian


Youths’ aspirations formation is typically analysed in its association with individual, family and school characteristics. This paper adopts a wider perspective and uses descriptive and econometric analysis to investigate the relationship between aspirations for economic inclusion of Latin American youths and the population size of the town where they live, as a proxy for development levels, in a context of high spatial inequality. Results indicate a significant relationship of population size with young people’s aspirations for economic inclusion: youths living in smaller towns attribute significantly higher importance to work, and significantly lower importance to wealth and success, compared to their peers living in larger towns. Youths living in towns of intermediate size resemble their peers living in smaller towns with respect to work-related aspirations, and youths living in larger towns in aspirations for wealth and success. We observe no differences between young men and women in the importance attributed to employment, while aspirations for wealth and success are consistently lower among young women. The importance of population size is stronger for youths than for adults. This significant relationship between spatial inequality and aspirations suggests that public policy should invest not only in people-based but also in place-based interventions for young people to be able to develop their potential, taking gender differences into account.

Suggested Citation

  • Cazzuffi, Chiara & Díaz, Vivián & Fernández, Juan & Leyton, Cristian, 2020. "Spatial inequality and aspirations for economic inclusion among Latin American youth," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 118(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:cysrev:v:118:y:2020:i:c:s0190740920308173
    DOI: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2020.105496

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