each paper reproduced here represents a useful scientific contribution in its own right. Collectively, the papers span a broad range of youth issues and cover a wide range of societies both geographically and culturally.
In Chapter 2, Jere Behrman and Piyali Sengupta describe the extent to which the aggregate contexts in which youth have been making transitions to adulthood in developing countries have been converging toward those in the developed economies. The study finds that the developing countries have tended to converge toward the characteristics of the developed countries in a number of important respects in recent decades. But there also has been significant divergence in some other respects. The tendency for convergence has been considerable for the available indicators of health, education, environment, transportation and communication, and gender differences, but somewhat less for some other indicators. Furthermore, though there has been a tendency for convergence for many aspects of the economy, the pattern is mixed for the important overall economic indicators of economic growth rates and per capita product.
In particular, two of the regions—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 rather than diverging in terms of per capita real product. Though the majority of youth in the developing world live in the latter two regions, there is a significant minority who live in the other regions for which there has been not only divergence, but decreases in per capita real product in the last two decades. Considering all the indicators, East Asia and the Pacific generally has converged most toward developed economics and sub-Saharan Africa least. The other regions are in between, with Europe and Central Asia in several cases diverging from the developed economies, but converging toward the more developed of the developing regions.
Collectively, these results suggest that the dominant thrust has been toward a more integrated and more similar world in which youth are making transitions to adulthood. This implies many changes for current youth in comparison with previous generations—dependence much more on markets than on family enterprises for jobs, much more on formal schooling than on learning by working with parents and other relatives with regard to education; much more awareness of options and lifestyles from the broader world than just from the local community; longer life expectancies and less susceptibility to infectious diseases with the exception of HIV/AIDS; smaller gender gaps favoring males; and much more mobility