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Human capital and redistribution / Human Capital, the Family and the State

Anno XXXII, n. 140, maggio-agosto 1997
Centro Einaudi


Testo disponibile solo in lingua inglese.
The twentieth century may be defined as the era of human capital in the sense that the primary factor of any country’s standard of living is its capacity to develop and use the competences, knowledge, health and customs of its inhabitants. Education and training not only foster growth and efficiency, but also reduce inequality and the negative consequences of deprived backgrounds. To understand what human capital is and how it is formed, we have to return to the family: that is, to those who tend to children and use all the resources at their disposal to provide them with education and training. In the advanced countries of the West, families have changed and are now growing smaller and less stable. This is due, in part, to basic tendencies in the modern economy, and, in part, to artificial incentives created by the modern welfare state. These incentives can be modified without damage – on the contrary, with huge benefits – for modern social and economic life. By way of an example, the author cites possible adjustments in terms of assistance to unmarried mothers, social welfare, services for children and education.