Human capital and biological well-being: intragenerational and intergenerational effects in 20th-century Spain

Diana Lopez-Falcon, Centre d'Estudis Demogràfics (CED)
Antonio D. Cámara, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

During the last five decades, Spain experienced a rapid transition towards high levels of development and well-being standards among Western societies. Although the implications of this modernization are obvious, the specific contribution of human capital to the attainment of high development levels and its interaction with well-being and its biological components remains a less studied issue. It is ignored to what extend economic growth and modernization would have rendered so successful outputs in terms of health without an improvement of educational status, particularly among mothers due to its implications on childbearing. It is also unknown to what extend differences in health status among Spanish regions and social classes are due to the human capital factor. Likewise it seems pertinent to speculate with the varying influence of human capital on the geographic gradient showed by some health indicators in Spain once they are controlled for some sociodemographic variables such sex, income and urbanization levels. In this paper it is aimed to shed some light on these questions by exploring the specific interactions between human capital and biological wellbeing throughout the 20th century in Spain. The former will be approached by educational levels attained in adulthood whereas cohort adult height will serve as a proxy of biological well-being. We will study both intra and intergenerational effects of human capital accumulation on the biological well-being of the Spanish population born between 1910 and 1976. A number of sociodemographic and socioeconomic traits, namely sex, birth cohort, income and region will be used as control variables. The bulk of this work will be based on data on adult height, educational level, income and place of residence from the waves of the Spanish National Health Survey (SNHS) held between 1987 and 2006. Demographic analysis together with different regression techniques will form the core of the methodology.

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Presented in Session 56: Education, mental health and well-being