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Journal Articles

UNICEF Innocenti's complete catalogue of international peer reviewed journals

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Household income and sticky floors in children’s cognitive development: Evidence from the United Kingdom Millennium Cohort Study

Yekaterina Chzhen, Zlata Bruckauf

Published: 2019
While there is a rich literature on the socio-economic gaps in children’s average cognitive test scores in the United Kingdom, there is less evidence on the differences in children’s transitions along the ability distribution. Using data from five sweeps of the UK Millennium Cohort Study at the ages of 9 months, 3 years, 5 years, 7 years and 11 years, this paper analyses the role of household income, relative to other socio-economic factors, in influencing children’s chances of moving up or down the age-specific cognitive ability distribution as they grow older. Descriptive findings indicate a high level of variability between ages 3 and 11, but children from income-poor households are more likely to get trapped in the bottom of the age-specific cognitive ability distribution. Event history analysis shows that household income protects children from falling into the lowest-performing group without necessarily helping existing low performers improve. In contrast, parental education both protects children from slipping into low performance and helps them move up if they fall into it. While this is, perhaps, disheartening because household income is more amenable to policy than parental education, there is potential for income-enhancing policies to protect children from scoring poorly in the first place.
Context and Measurement: An analysis of the relationship between intrahoushold decision making and autonomy

G. Seymour, Amber Peterman

Published: 2018
Using data from two culturally distinct locales, Bangladesh and Ghana, we investigate whether men and women who report sole decision making in a particular domain experience stronger (or weaker) feelings of autonomous motivation—measured using the Relative Autonomy Index (RAI)—compared to those who report joint decision making. Used primarily in psychology, the RAI measures the extent to which an individual’s actions are intrinsically or extrinsically motivated, where higher scores indicate greater autonomy. On aggregate, we find differences between men and women, and across countries, in the significance of association between the individual’s level of participation in decision-making and autonomy. In addition, we find heterogeneity in the strength of this association, depending on the domain (e.g., productive versus personal decisions) and whether partners agree on who normally makes decisions. These findings imply that details related to context and measurement matter for understanding individual decision-making power. We argue that all research using information on decision-making should include a careful analysis of men’s and women’s perceptions of decision making within the household, which may be useful for calibrating indicators to suit specific contexts.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 97-112 | Tags: cash transfers, household income
Effects of Public Policy on Child Labor: Current Knowledge, Gaps, and Implications for Program Design

Ana C. Dammert, Jacobus de Hoop, Eric Mvukiyehe, Furio Camillo Rosati

Published: 2018
Household decisions about child labor are influenced by income, uncertainty, and relative returns to work and education. The complexity of the phenomenon implies that a large set of policy instruments can be used to address child labor or can affect child labor. This review of 33 impact evaluations provides a comprehensive look at pathways through which social protection (credit and microfinance, cash transfers, vouchers, food programs), and labor programs affect child labor. Despite the complexity of integrating findings across different child labor definitions, implementation contexts, and policy instruments, some patterns emerge. For example, programs that address child labor by reducing the vulnerability of the household produce the desired effect. Transfers reduced child labor in most cases. Similarly, programs that help the household cope with exposure to risk, for example, health insurance, reduce household reliance on child labor. On the other hand, policies aimed at increasing adult household members’ participation in the labor market or entrepreneurial activities, can generate demand for adolescent and child work. Of course, such programs are an important component of anti-poverty strategies, but they could be modified and integrated with additional interventions to ensure that they do not produce adverse effects on child labor. While progress has been made over the past decade, there is still much to learn about the effects of public policy on the labor participation of many children in developing countries
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 104-123 | Tags: child labour, household income
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