In industrial economies schooling produces positive non-market returns but do traditional forms of human capital also produce such returns, and do schooling and traditional human capital act as complements or substitutes in their association with well-being? Drawing on data from 450 adults (16+ years of age) from an indigenous Amazonian society in Bolivia, we estimate the association between traditional plant knowledge and nutritional status as measured by body-mass index. After conditioning for many covariates, we find that doubling an adult's traditional knowledge is associated with a mean improvement in BMI of 6.3 per cent; the association is stronger for unschooled adults and for those living far from the market town. Though schooling bore a negative association with traditional knowledge, those two forms of human capital had independent associations with BMI. The analysis suggests that schooling does not necessarily undermine the accumulation of traditional knowledge.
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