ABCDE 2011 Plenary Session 3: Human capital formation, training and youth

Moderated by OECD Deputy Director Stefano Scarpetta, the third plenary session at the ABCDE 2011 event featured two presentations from Janet Currie (Columbia University) and Rodrigo Soares (Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro).

Mrs. Currie presented the results of her study on the effects of  early life health on adult health, education and earnings.  The research findings suggest that  there is a strong correlation between inequality among adults and early health. The question is therefore how policy can mitigate the long-lasting consequences of inequality in health at birth.

From his side, Mr. Soares shared with the audience his research on crime entry and exit among Brazilian youth. Using data from a unique survey conducted by “Observatório de Favelas” (a Brazilian NGO) with drug-selling gangs in Rio de Janeiro, the study tries to understand who these groups attract, the typical “careers” of teenagers within these organizations, and the potential exit strategies available.

After the session, we had the opportunity to record a short video interview with Mr. Yaw Nyarko (New York University), one of the discussants in the session. Mr. Nyarko argued that the the findings of the research on youth gangs in Brazil can be relevant for Africa as well. Several African countries are in fact experiencing an increase in the presence of gangs. According to Mr. Nyarko, education is key to keep the youth out of gang activities and offer them alternatives for a better future.

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