New book on youth out of school and the labor force in Latin America includes a chapter co-authored by Pulte Institute associate

Author: Alexandra Bendixen

A new book, (Re)significado a los Jóvenes que ni estudian ni trabajan, includes a chapter co-authored by Dr. Maria Estela Rivero Fuentes, Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning, and Knowledge Management Director for the USAID-funded Supporting Holistic and Actionable Research in Education (SHARE) program at the Pulte Institute for Global Development.

The title of the book translates to (Re)definition of youth that do not study nor work, and focuses on “neither in employment, education, or training youths” (NEETS) recognizing their full potential and capabilities. Dr. Rivero’s chapter, “Time use patterns in NEETS: an analysis from the ENUT of 2014,” used Mexico’s National Time Use Survey (ENUT) to study what NEETS spend their time on. The chapter identified, through hierarchical cluster analysis, four distinctive time use patterns among NEETS. The study found that 30% of NEETS in Mexico spend at least 15% of their time doing household chores, as opposed to 5% in other groups. The study excluded women who declare housework as their main occupation, as they are doing productive, but unpaid work. “This indicates that youth who are not working in a paid job, studying, or considered full time housekeepers, still contribute significantly to the economy,” said Rivero. 

The study also found that youth who respond to the most traditional images of NEETS are heterogeneous, and that their response to unemployment and lack of education opportunities seems to depend on economic and social resources. Excluding those who are doing a lot of household chores, Dr. Rivero identified two different groups: 1) those that spend a lot of time sleeping, and 2) those that spend a lot of their time in leisure activities. 

The results concluded in the study are important for the formulation of youth-focused policies, which should not consider NEETS as a homogeneous group. NEETS are not all spending their time in the same manner. Moreover, the time use differences observed may reflect variations in their socio-economic conditions and resources. 

Rivero has over 20 years of experience evaluating social programs in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean; analyzing and collecting data; and conducting research on gender, migration, youth and violence issues. 

The book can be purchased on the website of El Colegio Mexiquense here