46th Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "Enlargement, Southern Europe and the Mediterranean", August 30th - September 3rd, 2006, Volos, Greece
The main objective of the research is to analyze the relationship between human capital formation, and processes of economic growth and social development by exploring the use of the population's nutritional and health variables to assess the quality of human capital and the mechanisms through which this capital is transmitted between generations among people of different races living in different regions of Brazil. This research includes considerations on recent advances in the economic growth theory that relates health, human capital, and long-term economic growth (see Fogel, R.W. "The Impact of Nutrition on Economic Growth", July/2001.) The evidence is obtained from the analysis of an important Brazilian database, "Pesquisa de Padrão de Vida", the Brazilian version of the World Bank's "Living Standard Measurement Survey", conducted between 1996 and 1997, for the Northeast and Southeast Regions. The model we developed has two phases. In phase one we verified the factors which explain the differences in human capital formation between races, using the region and the area where the person lived as control variables. This part of the study focuses on information pertaining to economically active individuals (people between 19 and 59 years-old, both genders)with the purpose to analyze the connection between individuals' health variables, such as height and health status, and socioeconomic variables, like income and educational attainment, In phase two, the factors that explain the differences in the intergenerational transmission of human capital among races, were determined; area (urban x rural) and region were used as control variables. This part of the study focuses on information pertaining to individuals belonging to the same group, with at least one child to raise (2 to 21 years-old, both genders) in order to evaluate the intergenerational transmission of human capital. Results lead to the conclusion that relevant investments in human capital formation, such as educational attainment, create better opportunities to the individual in terms of employment and income. Beyond these primary effects, however, there are secondary effects, mainly based on the transmission of human capital formation through generations, which result in population lifestyle changes, economic growth and development.