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Fallas de mercado en capital humano. La trampa intergeneracional de la pobreza en México

Listed author(s):
  • Mayer-Foulkes, David

    (Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE))

Human development, understood as a long-term synergism between technological, physiological and cultural improvements, is a decisive, long-term factor of economic growth. However, it is characterized by intergenerational traps that slow down economic growth. This characterization is useful to analyze the effects of pro-market reform on the poor. The presence of traps is verified empirically for Mexico by evidencing the following constituent elements. Education has increasing returns not tapped by the bulk of the population (Mincerian estimates including stature and schooling). Early child health and nutrition are strongly associated with the probability of continuing in school later in life (probit estimates for continuing in school three more years, controlling for parental education, income and wealth). The population classifies itself into two social classes, those with complete lower secondary or less, and those with 15 or more years of education. Improvements in the lower group’s schooling respond mainly to public education. The possible market failures causing the intergenerational human capital accumulation trap are analyzed. Even though recent pro-market reforms in Mexico raised the returns to education, in the presence of the trap the necessary investment in human capital did not occur and the benefits of reform were less than expected. Policies supporting nutrition, health and early child development (shown to be economically justified just on the implied gains in education), as well as education, must complement pro-market reforms to effectively promote long-term economic growth.// El desarrollo humano, entendido como un sinergismo a largo plazo entre los avances tecnológicos, fisiológicos y culturales, es un factor decisivo y de largo alcance en el crecimiento económico. Sin embargo, su proceso se caracteriza por trampas intergeneracionales que retardan el crecimiento económico y que deben tomarse en cuenta en el análisis de los efectos de las reformas pro-mercado en los pobres. Verificamos empíricamente la presencia de estas trampas intergeneracionales en el caso de México, al mostrar la existencia de los siguientes elementos constitutivos. La educación presenta rendimientos crecientes que no son aprovechados por la mayoría de la población (estimadores mincerianos que incluyen estatura y escolaridad). La nutrición y la salud infantiles están fuertemente asociadas a la probabilidad de continuar en las etapas escolares sucesivas (estimadores probit para la continuación escolar tres años más, una vez controlada la educación, el ingreso y la situación económica de los padres). La población se clasifica en dos niveles sociales: con secundaria completa o menos, y con 15 o más años de escolaridad. Los avances en la escolaridad del grupo más bajo responden principalmente a la educación pública. Se analizan las fallas de mercado que podrían causar la trampa intergeneracional de acumulación de capital humano. Aun cuando las reformas pro-mercado recientes en México aumentaron los rendimientos de la educación, la presencia de la trampa impidió la inversión necesaria en capital humano, y los beneficios de la reforma fueron menores que lo esperado. Para promover el crecimiento económico a largo plazo de una manera efectiva, las reformas pro-mercado deben complementarse con políticas que apoyen la nutrición, la salud y el desarrollo infantil, así como también la educación.

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Article provided by Fondo de Cultura Económica in its journal El Trimestre Económico.

Volume (Year): LXXIV (3) (2007)
Issue (Month): 295 (julio-septiembre)
Pages: 543-614

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Handle: RePEc:elt:journl:v:74:y:2007:i:295:p:543-614
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