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Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries 2 Conceptual Framework INTRODUCTION The largest cohort of young people living in developing countries ever is currently coming of age in a rapidly changing world. Simultaneous changes in technology, economics, culture, politics, demographics, the environment, and education are creating greater connectivity among countries, communities, and individuals. These changes have lowered the importance of geographic distance between different places. Advances in technology make travel easier, faster, or even unnecessary (because of the growth of electronic communication). Changes in politics make national boundaries easier to cross, and shifts in economic structures routinize the flow of goods, services, and capital. Globalization per se is not new, but what is new is the speed, scale, scope, and complexity of this process. Because of these changes, the ecology of daily adolescent life is no longer circumscribed by geographic boundaries. Information is disseminated and available instantaneously nearly everywhere, financial transactions and production networks are organized globally with few impediments, transportation makes high-income and lower income countries immediately accessible to one another, and migration is no longer simply from the farm to the city, but across international boundaries. All of this makes the transition to adulthood a new, transformed, and “emergent” process at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Many young people today are truly “growing up global.” While the economic benefits of globalization are potentially enormous, the course of globalization has not been without its critics, who charge that
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Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries it has introduced new kinds of international conflicts and problems such as rising inequality, social polarization, and the demise of the nation-state (see, for example, Lechner and Boli, 2000; Milanovic, 2003; Wade, 2004). Some authors have even argued that young people who are “outside” the global economy and culture may be better off in some ways; they may maintain stronger family and community ties or be less likely to be exposed to risky behaviors. Regardless of how the globalization debate is finally resolved, one thing is clear: as broad global forces transform the world in which the next generation will live and work, the choices that today’s young people make or others make on their behalf will facilitate or constrain their success as adults. Old expectations regarding employment or life experiences are not valid any more. Furthermore, the transition to adulthood is no longer just a matter of familial and individual choices but is greatly shaped by global contexts, increased contact across cultures and geographical space, and the repercussions that are associated with multiple and simultaneous events across countries. And the traditional values and norms that informed and influenced these choices in the past may not lead to the best decisions in the changing global context in which adolescents find themselves. Arnett (2002) has argued that young people worldwide now develop a bicultural identity that integrates their local identity with new elements derived from their exposure to and interpretation of global culture. The purpose of this chapter is to introduce a conceptual framework that traces the effect of broad global changes on the process of transition from childhood to young adulthood in developing countries. It describes the most important elements and discusses the diversity of adolescent experience across regions and the suitability of the framework across the developing world as a whole. A special effort is made to note the similarities and differences that young people face in different regions of the world as well as the differences between men and women and among different socioeconomic groups. A CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK Figure 2-1 presents the conceptual framework that the panel has adopted to guide our efforts and structure the report. Although the focus of concern is on young people in developing countries and their entry into adult status in their own societies, the perspective of the framework is that much of what happens to them, and indeed what constitutes their daily experience, is shaped by the contexts of their lives. As the figure shows, context has been divided into three analytic levels. Most remote of these is changing global context (Box A), next is changing national context (Box B), and the most immediate or proximal context is changing local community
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Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries FIGURE 2-1 A conceptual framework for the study of changing transitions to adulthood in developing countries.
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Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries context (Box C). The embeddedness of young people’s lives in these contexts entails the proposition that changes in those contexts, whether distant or immediate, will have reverberating implications for individuals. Several aspects of the framework deserve mention. First, its emphasis throughout is on change; change is represented in the global environment, in the more immediate environments, in young people themselves, and, ultimately, in the course and contours of the transition process. Although such changes may not as yet have reached every corner of the developing world, their pervasiveness and the rapidity with which they are occurring suggest that most young people in developing countries have felt at least some impact. Second, although the focus of concern is on young people in developing countries and on their entry into adult status in their own societies, the perspective of the framework is that much of what happens to them and, indeed, constitutes their daily experience, is shaped by the contexts in which their lives are embedded. The framework gives causal precedence to the changes under way in the global environment. As Figure 2-1 shows, the arrows originating at Box A are unidirectional, whereas all the other arrows in the figure are bidirectional. The intent in representing the change process in this way is simply to capture the panel’s commitment to address the impact on individual young people of those macro forces at the global level, the dynamics of which are likely to be consequential for their development. Third, the framework highlights the interlinkages and influences between the context and individual behavior. It is an attempt to articulate the major processes and structures that are undergoing significant change at three contextual levels and to represent their potential influence, both direct and indirect, on young people and their development. Although not exhaustive, the contents of each box in the figure can be conceptually linked to the contents of the other boxes, and, in many cases, it is possible to invoke empirical support for those linkages. Of special interest to the panel are changes in individual resources/attributes during transition (Box D) and changes in the transition to adulthood (Box E). The emphasis there is on changes in the acquisition of various kinds of attributes or capabilities and in orientation toward the changing structure of opportunity, all logically relevant to changes in the timing and nature of the transition to adulthood. The framework represents the panel’s vision of a “web of causality” in which various loci of influence operate in multiple directions. Finally, it is understood, although not made explicit in the figure, that how the forces of global change affect the national and local environments will have different implications for young men and women as well as for young people from different family backgrounds defined by such characteristics as class, caste, race, or ethnicity. To begin with, gender differences in
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Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries opportunity structures and constraints pervade the institutions that shape young peoples’ lives at all levels, from political structures, laws, and national education systems on one hand, to the family, the classroom, and the local youth center on the other. At the same time, some of the new opportunities that have resulted from globalization have been gender specific, such as new employment opportunities for young women in garment factories in Bangladesh and for young men in construction in the Persian Gulf. In subsequent chapters as we work through the consequences of these global changes for various domains of young peoples’ lives, we give special attention to gender differences. KEY ELEMENTS OF THE CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK Below we expand on some of the elements of the conceptual framework in Boxes A-C. Boxes D and E are the focus of the rest of the book. Changing Global Context (Box A) Young people today are coming of age in a world in which the process of economic and cultural integration is accelerating. Driven by an astounding rate of technological change, particularly in transportation, computerization, and telecommunications, globalization has radically reduced the need for spatial proximity between producers and consumers and consequently reshaped the organization, management, and production of industries and firms. Globalization has also been facilitated by a more favorable international political climate, the collapse of communism and increasing democratization, and financial deregulation that has allowed capital to become more mobile than ever before (Berry, Conkling, and Ray, 1997). Yet globalization has not been without its critics, who argue that while the economic benefits are potentially enormous, in some places it has resulted in new problems related to the clash of traditional and modern cultures, rising income inequality, and social polarization (see, for example, Milanovic, 2003; United Nations, 2004; Wade, 2004). Globalization brings both potential risks and benefits for young people. Theoretically, as the economies of the world become more interconnected, factors of production can be used more efficiently and the opportunities for wealth creation expand. At the same time, there is also a down side. Open borders and financial deregulation mean that capital can just as easily flow out of a country as it can flow in, leading to a heightened degree of instability in a local economy. Young people’s employment status is often more vulnerable to the uncertainties and risks associated with globalization than any other age group, given their lack of labor market experience and the relative fragility of their tenure of employment.
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Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries Furthermore, while global change is important in the lives of many young people, its impact around the world has been highly uneven: Over the last 20 years, gross domestic product (GDP) per capita has risen spectacularly in India, China, and parts of Pacific Asia, roughly stagnated in Latin America, and fallen dramatically in the former Soviet Union, Central and Eastern Europe, and across sub-Saharan Africa (Wade, 2004). Even in countries in which the rate of economic growth has been very high, for some young people, particularly those in rural areas, the outward patterns and rhythms of life may appear to be largely unaffected. The growing gap between those who are caught up in global change and those who are not is a particular concern. Traditional cultures may control which young people are given the opportunity to fully participate in the best that the new global economy and lifestyle has to offer, and which will maintain traditional ways of life and possibly suffer as their standards of living fall farther behind their peers in their adult years. Pervasiveness of Market-Led Economic Change Although the origins of globalization can be traced back hundreds of years, there is no doubt that since the 1980s rapid technological change combined with major political reforms have accelerated the transformation of the world’s economic system. Improvements in transportation and communication technology together with advances in computer power have contributed to a new international division of labor characterized by the rise of multinational companies, increased international financial flows, and the transfer of manufacturing jobs from the developed to the developing world. These technological advances have occurred at the same time that major political reforms, including the collapse of communism, have opened up markets and removed previous institutional barriers to trade and development. Again it is important to stress that the extent of global economic change has been very uneven across the developing world. While the restructuring of global production has brought numerous benefits to many, others have been virtually unaffected and as a result increasingly marginalized. The region that has benefited the most from globalization is Pacific Asia, while large parts of Africa have been effectively bypassed. In fact, in 24 sub-Saharan African economies, GDP per capita is lower today than it was 20 years ago: and in 12 countries it is even below its 1960 level (Milanovic, 2003). In Asia, some of the populous economic giants that have gained the most overall from globalization, including China, India, and Indonesia, have experienced widening income gaps as their economies went global (Williamson, 2002). This is because the benefits of globalization have been
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Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries very unevenly distributed, being concentrated in some of the larger cities and special economic zones. For millions of adolescents throughout the developing world, this global economic restructuring has dramatically transformed possible life trajectories. Multinational companies seeking to lower production costs have greatly accelerated the processes of industrialization and global economic integration, bringing manufacturing and other types of jobs to areas in which previously they had not existed. Companies like Levi Strauss & Co. once made jeans in a single factory in San Francisco; now they manufacture and sell their products in over 100 countries around the world. As economic development progresses, adolescents with secondary schooling are more marketable in the labor force and therefore more likely to enjoy the benefits of the globalization of labor. At the same time, greater investments in human capital are usually associated with a more prolonged period of dependence, as young people stay in school longer and enter the labor market, marriage, and childbearing later. While some young people are able to take advantage of these changes, others are not. As Basu (2003b:10) notes: “While globalization creates, on the whole, more opportunities than it destroys, it can have the negative fall-out of marginalizing some people.” People pursuing traditional livelihoods without the benefits of improved technology may find they are losing out to competitors with more efficient production techniques. Furthermore, life for the illiterate and those with few years of education has become more difficult, as their skills are becoming less valued in the labor market. Technological Change Technological change—new invention and innovation—is at the very heart of economic growth and development. In today’s highly competitive global environment, multinational companies strive to produce goods and services as cheaply and efficiently as possible. Constant innovation and improvement in all aspects of production, distribution, and organization have become virtually essential for firms to remain competitive and survive. Advances in computerization and in the fields of transportation and communication have been critical factors facilitating global economic integration. Advances in computer power over the last 20 years and in communication technology using satellite communication, digital systems, and fiber-optic cables have dramatically increased the speed at which information flows from one place to another, making it easier for firms to establish and manage global networks of production. At the same time, the development of superfreighters and the introduction of containerization have lowered the cost of transporting raw materials and finished products around
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Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries the world, enabling multinational companies to establish new markets and to move their points of production away from their traditional consumers. Rapid technological change presents young people with many opportunities and challenges. Globalization has resulted in a world in which change is the only constant, competitive advantage is constantly being challenged, and methods of production and distribution are constantly being reinvented. The growing interconnectedness and rapid communications seen in the spread of the Internet, the World Wide Web, and the widening availability of computers are allowing some adolescents, especially middle-class ones and elites in urban areas, to access many of the benefits of globalization, while leaving many others, who remain unconnected, farther behind. The most obvious impact that these changes have on young people relates to the nature of the labor market that they face. A constantly changing labor market driven by rapid technological change favors those with more education. The information age demands computer skills and knowledge for the most coveted positions in the labor market. But in addition to improving their employability, access to and understanding of computers and the Internet expose young people to many of the aspects of global youth culture—including television, music, films, and fashion—that link young people around the world. Democratization and the Rise of Civil Society Along with technological change, globalization of the world’s economies has also been facilitated by many far-reaching political changes. Throughout the developing world, more and more authoritarian and single-party regimes are being replaced with some form of democratic government. In Eastern Europe, the collapse of communism fundamentally altered the global political landscape, which had been in place since the end of World War II. Consequently, authoritarian and single-party regimes were no longer able to rely on U.S.-Soviet tension to garner favor. The percentage of countries with some form of democratic government has risen from 57 percent in 1973 to 75 percent in 2003 (Freedom House, 2004). In China, the largest remaining communist world power, communist leaders have managed to retain control while opening up parts of the country to private investors. As a result, the percentage of China’s industrial output produced in state-owned enterprises has fallen dramatically, from 78 percent in 1978 to 43 percent by 1994 (Berry et al., 1997). Throughout the developing world, greater political openness has resulted in the liberalization of global financial markets and the removal of other institutional barriers to trade and development. The trend toward greater democratic rule has been accompanied by
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Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries greater citizen participation through local social and environmental movements, community interest groups, and other nongovernmental organizations. It has also been accompanied by a growing trend toward decentralization of power and responsibility to local government authorities. These political changes have been associated with more participatory government and increasing opportunities for young people to participate in civil society, in the life of the community, and in politics. Changes in Population Size and Distribution Rapid globalization has coincided with unprecedented growth in the size of the population of young people in developing countries. Large young cohorts challenge nations to achieve and sustain access to basic health and education services to all sectors of society. Although the total fertility rate is falling throughout the developing world (i.e., women are having fewer children, on average) the total number of adolescents remains very large due to high fertility in the recent past. The total population of young people ages 10-24 in the world is estimated by the United Nations to have reached 1.76 billion by 2005, approximately 27 percent of the world’s total population (see Table 2-1). While young people constitute approximately 20 percent of the total population of more developed regions, in the developing world the population of young people ages 10 to 24 is estimated to reach approximately 1.5 billion in 2005, or 29 percent of the total population of those regions. In the least developed countries, the proportion of young people in the overall population is even greater: over 33 percent in 2005. Generally the poorer a country is, the younger its population. In terms of absolute size, it is important to remember that the youth population in the developing world is itself quite unevenly distributed geographically and that the regional distribution continues to shift as a result of differential fertility, mortality, and migration rates across regions. By 2005, it is estimated that over 70 percent of the young people in the less developed world will live in Asia, with 42 percent of all young people living in China and India alone. The population in Africa is projected to rise to 26 percent of all developing country young people by 2030 (435 million) from its level in 2005 of 19 percent (294 million). This is primarily a result of continued decline in developing Asia’s share of young people, which is estimated at 75 percent in 1980 (807 million), 70 percent in 2005 (1,060 million), and 64 percent in 2030 (1,075 million). Latin America and the Caribbean’s share of the total developing country young is projected to decline slightly from 10.5 percent in 2005 to 9.5 percent in 2030 (see Table 2-1). In all developing regions, each subsequent cohort is projected to continue to increase steadily as the rapid growth in Africa and parts of Asia
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Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries counteracts some slow declines in absolute numbers in other parts of Asia and in Latin America. While the population of young people in Eastern Asia (largely China) peaked at 410 million in 1985 and will peak in 2030 in South Central Asia (549 million), it is not expected to peak in Western Asia (largely Pakistan) before 2050. Similarly, while the population of young people in Southern Africa reached its peak in 2005 (17 million), the most populous parts of Africa—Eastern, Western, Middle, and Central Africa—will still be growing in 2050. Thus, with the exception of Eastern Asia and Southern Africa, the absolute size of young cohorts continues to grow, peaking for Asia as a whole in 2010, in Latin America and the Caribbean by 2015, and sometime after 2050 in Africa (United Nations, 2003b). As fertility declines, child dependency ratios decline, implying a population with relatively more working-age adults (ages 15-64) and relatively fewer nonworking-age dependents (Bongaarts, 2000). (The child dependency ratio is calculated as the ratio of children ages 0-14 to working-age adults.) But as economic development progresses, the age of dependency becomes more prolonged, stretching beyond childhood as young people stay longer in school and entry into the labor market is postponed along with marriage and childbearing. Delays in the full assumption of adult roles generally reflect greater investments in human and social capital, signaling a longer phase of economic dependency. Table 2-2 shows the percentage of the population by various broad age groups for various points in time. In Latin America and the Caribbean and Asia, the percentage of the population ages 25-64 grew substantially between 1980 and 2005. In Latin America the 25-64 age group increased from 36 to 45 percent, while in Asia it grew from 39 to 48 percent. Because Africa’s fertility transition began only recently, the age structure of the African population changed relatively little over the last 25 years. But, in spite of the effects of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, between 2005 and 2030, the percentage of the population ages 25-64 is expected to grow from 34 to 41 percent in Africa. Smaller positive changes are also expected in Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean. When dependency burdens are high, transitions to adulthood are likely to be shorter; when dependency burdens are lower, transitions to adulthood are likely to be longer. The higher ratios for some parts of Africa highlight the special challenges for young people in those regions. The disadvantages they face in cohort size, particularly as they relate to the older working-age population, suggest that there will be less societal resources to invest in this stage of development, thus reducing the length of transitions and compromising chances for success. The rapid growth in the total number of young people should also not obscure the fact that many are growing up in smaller families with fewer siblings. This is a function of the fertility transition that is well under way in
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Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries TABLE 2-1 Population of Young People by Region Region Total Population (millions) Population Ages 10-24 1980 2005 2030 1980 2005 2030 WORLD 4,435 6,454 8,130 1,336 1,755 1,875 More Developed Regions 1,083 1,209 1,242 263 237 201 Less Developed Regions 3,352 5,245 6,888 1,072 1,518 1,673 Least Developed Regions 400 753 1,257 127 246 389 Africa 470 888 1,398 147 294 435 Eastern 144 282 462 45 96 152 Middle 53 106 191 16 35 64 Northern 111 190 267 35 60 68 Southern 33 52 49 11 17 14 Western 128 257 429 40 86 137 Asia (excluding Japan) 2,515 3,790 4,766 807 1,060 1,075 Easterna 1,061 1,404 1,538 346 338 282 South-central 981 1,615 2,192 307 493 549 South-eastern 358 558 711 117 165 162 Western 115 213 324 36 64 83 Latin America and the Caribbean 361 558 711 117 161 159 The Caribbean 29 39 45 9 11 10 Central America 90 147 194 30 45 45 South America 242 372 472 77 105 104 Oceaniab 5 9 13 1 3 3 aExcludes Japan. bExcludes Australia and New Zealand. NOTE: Population estimates for 2005 and projections for 2030 are for United Nations Medium Variant. SOURCE: United Nations (2003d). most of Asia and Latin America and parts of Africa. Using Demographic Health Survey (DHS) data from 52 developing countries, Pullum and Zellner (2000) estimated the average number of living siblings ages 0-15 for children ages 0-15 according to total fertility rates. They found a steady decline in the mean number of siblings with declining total fertility rates from 5 to 2 children per woman as well as a rise in the percentage of children with no siblings from 9 to 20 percent over the same range (see Table 2-3). Declines in sibship size reflect parental decisions to emphasize child quality over child quantity, in the context of rapid urbanization and changing economic opportunities. This change can result in increased gains in familial (and ultimately societal) investments in child health and education, with important implications for the life chances of young people, particularly girls, who may benefit from an increasing share of family income as average family size declines (Lloyd, 1994; Kelley, 1996).
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Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries ing married or pregnant girls from attending school; protective labor legislation that affects the work opportunities of children and mothers; social movements (e.g., for human rights; women’s, children’s, and minority rights; and environmental protections); and armed conflict. Because every country is unique, each aspect of the changing global environment plays out slightly differently in each country. In some parts of Asia, the results of the transformation of the global economy have been both spectacular and profound. The growth of East Asia’s share of world economic output has grown from 4 percent in 1960 to 25 percent in 1995 (Yeung, 2000). Such cities as Tokyo, Seoul, Taipei, Hong Kong, Manila, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Jakarta, Shanghai, and Mumbai have flourished over the last 20 years, recording spectacular increases in gross domestic product (Lo and Yeung, 1996). Similarly, in China, as soon as the government began to open up the country in 1978, the transformation was dramatic. In Shenzhen, for example, which was chosen as one of the four initial special economic zones because of its close proximity to Hong Kong, the value of industrial output in 1987 was almost 70 times the value of industrial output in 1980, implying an annual rate of growth of 60 percent per annum (Yeung and Chu, 1998). Similarly, Xiamen, situated directly opposite the island of Taiwan, has enjoyed staggering export-led growth and industrialization over the last 20 years (Yeung and Chu, 2000). Xiamen’s gross domestic product increased more than 57-fold over the period 1980-1997 (Howell, 2000). Other coastal cities, including Dalian, Guangzhou, Qingdao, Shenzhen, and Tianjin, have all undergone remarkable transformations since the Chinese government began its open policy (Yeung and Hu, 1992). While it is impossible to describe completely the exact circumstances of every country, the final section of this chapter addresses broad questions of regional similarity and differentiation. Here we make a few general remarks about the extent to which the forces promoting globalization either promote or reduce the role of the nation-state. Nation-states have become far weaker than previously. As foreign exchange controls have been lifted, global capital has become far more mobile, which has weakened the ability of national governments to formulate monetary policy. Foreign exchange reserves held by national governments pall in comparison to foreign exchange transactions executed on a daily basis in the world’s financial markets (Berry et al., 1997). Consequently, market forces, not state policy, largely determine a country’s foreign exchange rate, trade balance, and price of money. At the same time, there has been a convergence across developing countries of laws and policies affecting young people in response to various international conventions and agreements agreed to by states through their participation in international meetings under the aegis of the United Na-
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Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries tions (see above). The effects of some of these changes, such as laws and policies affecting equality of opportunity and treatment of women, are monitored occasionally for compliance. Many of these laws, however, remain relatively unenforced or apply only partially (e.g., employment law that affects only the formal sector). But far from implying a world of borderless space, globalization actually strongly reinforces the importance of the subnational or local environment. The growth and development of cities in newly industrializing countries is strongly tied to the ability of cities to attract foreign companies, capital, and technology. Successful cities, particularly in Pacific Asia, that are able to attract large amounts of direct foreign investment have been able to accelerate their economic growth to spectacular heights and to break away from the fate of their national economies (Yeung, 2000). This feeds the demand by municipal authorities for increased political autonomy and fiscal authority. Cities, or in some cases extended metropolitan areas, are not only growing in size, but also gaining in economic and political influence (Yeung, 2002). Therefore, globalization has been linked to the tendency of many countries toward decentralization of responsibilities and resources to local and municipal authorities. Decentralization in the management of health and educational delivery systems are two important examples. As decentralization progresses, there is greater opportunity for regional diversity not only in access but also in terms of the content of actual services delivered. Changing Local Community Context (Box C) Finally, the global and national influences affecting the transition to adulthood described above are filtered through particular local contexts. Thus the third box of our conceptual framework emphasizes the importance of peers, family and kin, health resources, economic resources, social roles, media, educational resources, and local governance; norms and values, community groups, and civil war and disruptions. The proximal context constitutes the immediate setting of social expectations, opportunities, and constraints in which young people’s development proceeds. Although adolescence is a time when young people move out of childhood to begin to take up adult roles and responsibilities of their own, parents and other family members, more than anyone else, critically influence the choices available to young people and the decisions that they make. Yet the nature of young peoples’ family experience varies enormously from individual to individual: from large multigenerational families that provide young people with a plethora of relationships and interactions to small nuclear or even single-parent households in which young people may spend much less time with adults. Similarly, some young people grow
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Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries up in traditional rural households, while others grow up in more progressive urban areas. In many settings, traditional family configurations are changing with fertility decline and rising divorce and remarriage rates, implying smaller average household size and more complex and multi-residence families. A recent cross-national study of living arrangements in Africa found that nuclear households—that is, households consisting only of parents and their biological children—were the predominant living arrangement in 4 of the 11 countries examined. In four other countries, extended households—consisting of parents, their biological children, and other family members or nonrelatives—were predominant. In three other countries, children were almost equally divided between nuclear and extended households (Gage, Sommerfelt, and Piani, 1996). In many settings, including large parts of Asia, Africa, and the Arab world, many families continue to be quite authoritarian and patriarchal, despite the social pressures of the modern world. In India, for example, parental involvement and control is still very high, particularly with respect to issues related to gender socialization and marriage (Verma and Saraswathi, 2002). A survey of adolescent respondents found that even among the privileged Westernized upper middle class, a large majority of boys and girls still prefer arranged marriages (Pathak, 1994, cited in Verma and Saraswathi, 2002). Parents and other family members are important actors in many other aspects of young peoples’ lives, including influencing decisions regarding when to leave school. For example, Lloyd and Blanc (1996) examined the role of parents and other household members on schooling outcomes in seven African countries. They found that the resources of a child’s residential household—in particular the education of the household head as well as the household’s standard of living—are determining factors in explaining variations in children’s schooling. The authors also found that children living in female-headed households have better school outcomes than children living in male-headed households, when households with similar resources are compared. More recently, Case, Paxson, and Ableidinger (2004) found that orphans in Africa are particularly disadvantaged in terms of school enrollment, and this is largely explained by their greater tendency to live with distant relatives or with unrelated caregivers. Family members are also frequently portrayed as being influential in young people’s decision making in matters of sexual and reproductive health. But too few studies have addressed this issue adequately (Gage, 1998). For example, little information is available with regard to the exact nature and frequency of discourse between young people and their parents on reproductive health matters, which can be a source of embarrassment and discomfort on both sides. Furthermore, there is very little information available on how often discussions occur, the nature of these interactions,
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Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries or what other indirect (and often conflicting) signals parents give off (see, for example, Gorgen, Laier, and Diesfeld, 1993). Finally, many other family members besides parents can also play important and influential roles in young peoples’ lives. In some African cultures, for example, the responsibility for transmitting sexual information to children lies not with parents but with other adult relatives, such as grandmothers or paternal aunts (Blanc et al., 1996; Cattell, 1994; Gage, 1998). Young people also rely on peers for information and support. As young people grow and develop their own self-identity, they often begin to call into question the values and principles of their parents and other adults. The peer group can become increasingly important, and many young people can feel an intense need to belong. Consequently, just as in the developed world, peer groups in developing countries tend to play a large part in shaping many young peoples’ values and beliefs during their formative years, particularly among young people from middle- and upper-class families. Peers provide young people with alternative viewpoints and sources of information as well as providing points of reference for certain norms and behaviors. Peer influence can be positive or negative: for example, peers can support and reinforce family values, while they can also encourage certain problematic behaviors. There are many cross-national studies in developing countries that have investigated young people’s source of information about contraceptives or their decision to use or to forgo using them. But without the benefit of longitudinal data, it is not possible to assign causality. Nevertheless, perceived expectations of consistent condom use among one’s peers have been found to be an important predictor of young men’s consistent condom use with commercial sex workers in Thailand (see VanLandingham et al., 1995). Peer pressure may also have quite negative effects on decision-making behavior. In the same study in Thailand, young men who perceived that the group norm for condom use was one of nonuse were the least likely to report using a condom when having sex with commercial sex workers (VanLandingham et al., 1995). Similarly, Gorgen and colleagues (1998) found that young unmarried urban youth in Guinea reported that both their partners and their peers pressured them to have sex. While it is impossible to quantify the relative impact of parents, family members, and peers on the behavior of young people in developing countries, we do know that adolescents are particularly susceptible to peer pressure, especially at younger ages (Gage, 1998). In many countries, peer educators have been deployed in combination with other intervention strategies to take advantage of the fact that young people spend a large amount of time interacting with each other. These programs typically recruit and train a core group of young people to serve as role models and sources of information for their peers. In some settings,
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Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries peer educators also distribute nonclinical contraceptives. Evaluations of peer promotion strategies have found varying levels of success. An 18-month study of a peer promotion program in secondary schools in six cities in Peru found a positive association between the program and age at first sex and the probability of contraceptive use at last sexual encounter (Magnani et al., 2001). Similarly, Speizer, Tambashe, and Tegang (2001) found that a community-based peer program in Cameroon was associated with both higher levels of current contraceptive use and increased probability of using condoms at last sex among those adolescents who had had an encounter with a peer educator than among adolescents who had not. Other programs appear to have had less success, and some studies suggest that the greatest program impacts are on the peer educators themselves (see Chapter 4). The relative importance of family, peers, community, and schools on young people’s decision making obviously varies from individual to individual. Generalization on this point is difficult if not impossible, because the relative importance of various factors in the local context, such as the weight of peer versus family influences, is likely to depend on an individual’s age, sex, and years of education, as well as whether he or she is in or out of school, working or unemployed, living at home or elsewhere, and in a stable or a casual relationship. There are also broad regional differences in norms and values. In the final section of this chapter, we highlight some of the main similarities and differences across regions. IS THE WORLD CONVERGING? Not only is the world changing rapidly, it may be becoming more homogenous. If so, young people in developing countries are making the transition to adulthood in economies and societies that are becoming ever more similar to those in developed countries. In order to investigate whether regions are becoming more or less similar, Behrman and Sengupta (2005) compiled data from six developing country regions across numerous indicators. The authors found that developing countries have tended to converge toward developed countries in a number of important respects in recent decades. But there also has been significant divergence in some other respects (Behrman and Sengupta, 2005). The tendency for convergence has been considerable for indicators of health, education, environment, transportation, communication, and gender differences but somewhat less so for other indicators. And although there has been a tendency toward convergence for many aspects of the economy, the pattern is mixed for economic growth rates and per capita product. This is also true of trends in poverty, which have fallen in some regions, not changed in others, and risen in sub-Saharan Africa (see Box 2-1).
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Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries Two of the regions in particular—Latin America and the Caribbean and sub-Saharan Africa—have diverged negatively with regard to economic growth rates and only two of the regions—East Asia and the Pacific and South Asia—have been converging in terms of per capita real product. Although the majority of young people in the developing world live in the latter two regions, there is a significant minority that lives in the other regions for which there has been a tendency for divergence in per capita real product. The region of East Asia and the Pacific generally has converged most toward developed economies and sub-Saharan Africa least. The other regions are in between, with Europe and Central Asia in several cases diverging from developed economies but converging toward the more developed of developing regions. Even where there has been a tendency toward convergence, however, there remains a gap that continues to exist with the developed world, primarily because economic growth during these years in the developed countries has also been considerable. Thus, the overall economic contexts in which most young people in the developing world have been making their transitions to adulthood have changed, and these changes have varied substantially among regions, with more positive aggregate economic experiences in Asia, where the majority of young people in developing countries live, than elsewhere. Behrman and Sengupta’s (2005) results may indicate that the dominant thrust, as suggested by many observers of globalization, has been toward convergence as an increasing percentage of young people in developing countries are growing up in an environment that is getting more similar in certain ways to that experienced by young people in developed countries. However, young people in developed countries represent only 14 percent of all young people worldwide. Thus, there is likely to be greater diversity among young people worldwide today than in the past. Some young people in developing countries are becoming more like their peers in developed countries, but others have stayed behind. Trends in early childbearing are a good example. In some developing countries, high rates of early childbearing persist among adolescents; in most, rates are declining, some more slowly, some more rapidly, and in a few, due to a rise in the percentage of adolescents having premarital sex and delays in marriage, early childbearing is actually on the increase. This divergence of experience among young people in developing countries is a phenomenon of particular importance. Analyses of changing transitions to adulthood in developing countries need to be sensitive both to the tendencies toward convergence and to some important tendencies toward divergence as well as to systematic differences among developing country regions and increasingly within developing countries. Given the many global changes that form the backdrop of this report, one of the most basic questions that could be asked about the situation of
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Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries BOX 2-1 Trends in Poverty Measuring poverty rates in developing countries is a complex and challenging task that has been the focus of extensive research. The absence of reliable and consistent data to estimate poverty was one of the main motivations for the World Bank’s major effort to collect comparable household surveys on income and consumption in a large number of countries (Grosh and Glewwe, 2000). The issue has produced extensive debate over issues of measurement, analysis, and interpretation, much of which has played out in the context of larger and highly contentious debates about the impact of globalization, international trade, and the actions of international agencies. The ideal way to measure trends in poverty in any country would be to have a consistent series of large, nationally representative household surveys with detailed information on income and consumption for a number of years. Very few developing countries met this ideal before the mid-1980s, and even after the launching of the World Bank’s ambitious Living Standards Measurement Study (LSMS) surveys, many issues of incomplete coverage and data comparability remain. Most estimates of poverty use a combination of household survey data and national accounts data (Deaton, 2001, 2002, 2003; Ravallion, 2003). The survey data are used to provide detailed information on the distribution of income or consumption across households, but are often available only for one or two points in time. National accounts statistics can be used to estimate changes in mean income in every year, with the combination of the survey data and national accounts being used to estimate the percentage below a given poverty line in years when complete survey data are not available. An additional key methodological issue is the comparison of incomes across countries. It is standard to use purchasing power parity (PPP) indexes based on the cost of purchasing a comparable basket of goods in each country to compare income and consumption across countries. The most comprehensive attempts to estimate poverty in this way have been done by researchers at the World Bank. Chen and Ravallion (2001) present estimates of poverty covering the period 1987 to 1998 based on two simple benchmark poverty lines that are often used: $1 per day and $2 per day in per capita household consumption. The household surveys used for these estimates cover 88 percent of the developing country population. For the combined developing country population, Chen and Ravallion’s estimates indicate a decline in the percentage of the population in poverty by the $1 per day measure from 28.3 percent young people in developing countries today is whether the economic conditions of the households they are growing up in are better or worse than the conditions that were experienced by their parents. One basic question is: has the percentage of young people growing up in poverty been increasing or decreasing in recent decades? While the answer to such a question is complicated by the need for both a definition of poverty and a demanding amount of data (see Box 2-1), there is strong evidence that poverty rates
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Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries in 1987 to 23.4 percent in 1998. This decline in the percentage in poverty was just large enough to offset the substantial population growth in developing countries during this period, leading to almost no change in the total number of people in poverty. Impressive declines in poverty rates in China play a large role in the overall trend, although the poverty rate still declines from 28.5 percent to 25.6 percent when China is excluded. The largest declines in poverty over this period took place in East Asia and the Pacific, where the $1 per day poverty rate when China is excluded fell by well over half. Smaller declines in poverty took place in Latin America, the Middle East, and South Asia. It is important to note that poverty rates in Africa increased over this period, rising from the already very high level of 46.6 percent to 48.1 percent by the $1 per day measure. Combined with rapid population growth, this implied an additional 80 million people living in poverty in Africa. In addition to the large regional differences in both levels and trends in poverty, there are often large differences within a given country. A detailed examination of poverty in India by Deaton and Dreze (2002) shows significant declines in poverty in the 1990s, but with regional differences in poverty increasing over the period, including no reduction in poverty in some of the states that already had the highest levels of poverty. A number of studies also indicate that income inequality has increased in India and China, even though poverty has declined, with higher income growth in the highest income deciles (Chen and Wang, 2001; Deaton and Dreze, 2002). These increases in income inequality in some of the most rapidly growing economies are closely related to increases in the returns to high levels of schooling observed in many countries, an issue with important implications for the schooling investments of young people discussed in Chapter 3. Although data on poverty rates prior to the mid-1980s is much more limited, most evidence indicates that the declines in poverty for the 1990s were a continuation of declines in poverty over several decades. Sala-i-Martin (2002) combines national accounts data from 1970 to 1998 with the available data on individual country income distributions to estimate changes in the distribution of income in each country and for the world as a whole. Applying the $1 per day poverty line to these distributions, he estimates that there have been substantial declines in poverty rates for the developing world as a whole over the entire period. His estimates of the levels of poverty are considerably lower than those estimated by Chen and Ravallion, but the estimated trends show a similar pattern. According to Sala-i-Martin’s estimates, poverty fell rapidly in Asia, fell more slowly in Latin America, and increased substantially in Africa between 1970 and 1998. have declined for the developing world as a whole over the last 30 years. Nevertheless, a significant fraction of young people in developing countries continue to live in poverty. Taking the $1 per day measure as an indicator of extreme poverty, one simple estimate of the probability that a young person in a developing country lives in poverty is about 23 percent, the average observed for the developing country population in 1998 (see Table 2-4). With the growing number of young people, however, this decline in
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Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries poverty rates has had little impact on the numbers of young people estimated to be living in extreme poverty. Using the poverty rate estimates presented in Table 2-4 and interpolations of UN population estimates of young people in the same years (1.2 billion in 1987 and 1.39 billion in 1998), the panel has estimated that the absolute number of young people living in poverty would have declined from approximately 350 million in 1987 to approximately 325 million in 1998—a decline of less than half a percent in 11 years. TABLE 2-4 Absolute Number and Percentage of Population in Poverty in World Regions, 1987 and 1998 Region % of Population Covered by at Least One Survey $1 Per Day Poverty Line Number of People in Poverty (millions) % of Population in Poverty 1987 1998 1987 1998 East Asia and the Pacific 90.8 417.5 267.1 26.6 14.7 East Asia and the Pacific (excluding China) 71.1 114.1 53.7 23.9 9.4 Eastern Europe and Central Asia 81.7 1.1 17.6 0.2 3.7 Latin America and the Caribbean 88.0 63.7 60.7 15.3 12.1 Middle East and North Africa 52.5 9.3 6.0 4.3 2.1 South Asia 97.9 474.4 521.8 44.9 40.0 Sub-Saharan Africa 72.9 217.2 301.6 46.6 48.1 TOTAL 88.1 1,183.2 1,174.9 28.3 23.4 TOTAL excluding China 84.2 879.8 61.4 28.5 25.6 NOTES: The $1 per day is in 1993 purchasing power parity terms. The numbers are estimated from those countries in each region for which at least one survey was available during the period 1985-1998. The proportion of the population covered by such surveys is given in column 1. Survey dates often do not coincide with the dates in the above table. To line up with the above dates, the survey estimates were adjusted using the closest available survey for each country and applying the consumption growth rate from national accounts. Using the assumption that the sample of countries covered by surveys is representative of the region as a whole, the numbers of poor are then estimated by region.
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Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries The overall declines in poverty rates are based on quite different experiences in different regions, however, as poverty rates vary widely across regions, ranging from 12-15 percent for Latin America and East Asia to almost 50 percent in Africa. Impressive declines in poverty have been recorded in China and India, which together make up roughly half of the developing world. Modest declines have also been recorded in Latin America. But, at the other extreme, sub-Saharan Africa appears to have experienced increasing poverty rates (see Table 2-4). $2 Per Day Poverty Line Number of People in Poverty (millions) % of Population in Poverty 1987 1998 1987 1998 1052.3 884.9 67.0 48.7 299.9 252.1 62.9 44.3 16.3 98.2 3.6 20.7 147.6 159.0 35.5 31.7 65.1 85.4 30.0 29.9 911.0 1,094.6 86.3 83.9 356.6 489.3 76.5 78.0 2,549.0 2,811.5 61.0 56.1 1,796.6 2,178.7 58.2 57.9 SOURCE: Chen and Ravallion (2001).
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Representative terms from entire chapter: