Capability development and well-beinganalysis of the relevance of investments in territorial capital in marginal rural areas of mexico

  1. Pablo Aguilera Fierro
Supervised by:
  1. Esteban M. Lafuente González Director

Defence university: Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC)

Year of defence: 2017

  1. Yancy Vaillant Chair
  2. Jesús Abad Puente Secretary
  3. Ferrán Vendrell Herrero Committee member

Type: Thesis

Teseo: 147060 DIALNET lock_openTDX editor


Since 2007 the Mexican Govemment introduced the fight against poverty as a top priority in its agenda,thus increasing the amount of resources allocated to minimize this social condition. Nevertheless,poverty levels in Mexico have increased by 6.56% between 2008 and 201O. Households living under extreme poverty conditions also increased from 11.7 million people in 2008 to 12.8 million people in 2010. Two out of three individuals living under this condition reside in rural areas. The Food and Agricultura! Organization (FAO) proposed in 2002 the implementation of a new strategy to fight poverty: the Strategic Project for Food Security (SPFS, Proyecto Estratégico para la Seguridad Alimentaria PESA). This poverty reduction program includes methodological and technical support measures that aim at improving the subsistence, production and income systems of beneficiary communities. In this doctoral thesis 1 propose to evaluate whether the implementation of the PESA program creates the conditions to decrease poverty levels through the creation and capitalization of human capital, and whether the implementation of this program has a positive and significan!influence on the welfare leve! of beneficiary households. Furthermore, we test for the existence of a return on the program's investments . By evaluating the strategy of the PESA program, we move away from conventional measurements of human capital and we adopt a more holistic approach to evaluate the effectiveness of poverty reduction policies. acknowledging the multidimensional nature of territorial development in which aspects related to the economy, housing, education, healthcare and culture play a central role. To achieve the objective of this thesis a sample of 2,240 households was created, including 1,122 households that participated in the PESA Program and a control group of 1,118 non-beneficiary households residing in the same communities. Variables linked to household's income , schooling, healthcare, as well as demographic factors were used to determine if welfare improvements followed the enrolment in the PESA among beneficiaries, compared to the control group. Additionally,different statistic models (treatment and selection specifications) were proposed to test whether support policies that rely on community involvement, such as PESA, increases different dimensions of welfare related to investment in education and healthcare among beneficiaries. The empirical findings presented in this dissertation support the argument that human capital formation is a key ingredient that contributes to increase well-being levels in marginalized communities. This paper has important implications for how policy makers can match solutions generated by poverty reduction programs with the objective of breaking the intergenerational transmission of poverty via investments in territorial capital. Poverty reduction programs, such as PESA, have proven themselves efficient in narrowing the income inequality gap in deprived communities.The program's methodology and permanent technical support and supervision are key elements that help comba! certain poverty dimensions. These components should be included in ali support programs oriented to the minimization of poverty levels in rural areas. Finally,welfare-enhan cing support programs that seek to comba! poverty should not be restricted and exclusively implemented in regions exposed to severe poverty conditions.On contrary, these policies should be part of the country's development strategy and should be included as a transversal policy in the different settings of the government at top administrative levels.