Year: 2008
Working paper number: 234
Author: De Lannoy, Ariane
Unit: SSU

Theories of Human Social Capital Investment typically hypothesise that the AIDS pandemic will have a negative influence on people's real and subjective life expectancy, and that it will consequently also impact negatively on their willingness to invest in, for example, education. If such were the case, we would expect to see an influence of HIV-related factors on young adults' educational expectations. Unlike previous analyses on expectations, this study therefore analyses the significance of orphanhood, health, subjective life expectancy, and perceived risk of HIV infection. Data were collected by the Cape Area Panel Study (CAPS), covering an original sample of about 5000 young adults within the Cape Town Metropolitan Area. Findings illustrate that educational expectations are in fact very high among young adults, especially among those of the most heavily affected African population group. Analyses do show a remaining, significant and positive impact of health on expectations for all population groups. Subjective life expectancy, however, is insignificant in all groups. Perceived HIV risk is significantly negative only in the African sample, which might indicate some validity of the mentioned hypotheses. The study indicates, however, that measures of affectedness, health, perceived life expectancy, and even perceived infection risk are poorly understood. I argue therefore that much more in-depth work is needed to fully understand, for example, young adults' subjective life expectancy and expressions of health before they can be used as building blocks in the development of influential hypotheses.

Publication file: WP234.pdf