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and women’s time becomes more flexible, there should be opportunities for more transformative interventions to make a difference in the lives of youth, particularly young females.

In Chapter 10, Barthélémy Kuate-Defo builds from the conceptual framework developed for the Panel on Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries by formulating and estimating multilevel models of fixed and random influences of competing factors on various transitional events, which are hypothesized to be shaped by the hierarchically clustered contexts in which the individuals’ lives are embedded. The author presents the logic and assumptions of multilevel modeling as well as its data requirements, and uses data from Cameroon to illustrate the features of this methodology and to test several assumptions inherent in the macro-micro propositions articulated in the panel’s theoretical framework.

By situating the estimated influences on transitions to adulthood within a multilevel framework, this study allows for a more rigorous investigation of the robustness of fixed and random effects at the individual, community, and province levels than conventional statistical methods. The chapter separates the net influences of individual attributes from the fixed and random context-dependent effects, documents the significance of both the fixed and the random effects of the community and the province context, net of the fixed and random effects of individual- and household-level covariates, and assesses their differential implications for young males versus young females given their socioeconomic and demographic backgrounds.

The study finds significant multilevel influences on young people’s successful transitions to adulthood including socioeconomic status, ethnic affiliation, community and regional contexts in Cameroon, and these influences operate differently by gender. Furthermore, the estimated parameters suggest that there may be more variation across communities and provinces in the likelihood of some transitional events than standard single-level analyses would have implied. Finally, the study demonstrates the significance of influential unmeasured variables affecting the various transitions of young people during their life course, independently of other covariates. A number of these unobserved influences may be unmeasurable in conventional methods of inquiry and often require a combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches to study.


In the final chapter in the volume, James Knowles and Jere Behrman argue that better policy choices related to youth would be made if policy makers and analysts were better informed by good estimates of the rates of return or benefit-to-cost ratios for alternative policy options. However, it is

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