Abstract for:The curse of low human development

The paper addresses the complex social problem of low human development and its replication across generations, in developed and underdeveloped countries. Capabilities and harshness of environmental demands interact to produce low levels of early childhood development, creating a “curse” (or path-dependence) in families living in poverty. After presenting the elements in the model, we present the results of simulations testing individual and comprehensive policies, such as income transfer and prenatal care. The results suggest that many intuitive solutions may be insufficient to break the cycle of low human development. The model also replicates the recent evolution of social indicators in Brazil.