Chzhen, Yekaterina; Handa, Sudhanshu; Nolan, Brian; Cantillon, Bea (2017). Children of Austerity: Impact of the Great Recession on Child Poverty in Rich Countries, MiscellaneaOxford University Press, Oxford
The 2008 financial crisis triggered the worst global recession since the Great Depression. Many OECD countries responded to the crisis by reducing social spending. Through 11 diverse country case studies (Belgium, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, and the United States), this volume describes the evolution of child poverty and material well-being during the crisis, and links these outcomes with the responses by governments. The analysis underlines that countries with fragmented social protection systems were less able to protect the incomes of households with children at the time when unemployment soared. In contrast, countries with more comprehensive social protection cushioned the impact of the crisis on households with children, especially if they had implemented fiscal stimulus packages at the onset of the crisis. Although the macroeconomic 'shock' itself and the starting positions differed greatly across countries, while the responses by governments covered a very wide range of policy levers and varied with their circumstances, cuts in social spending and tax increases often played a major role in the impact that the crisis had on the living standards of families and children.
Evidence and objective assessment are needed more than ever to help enhance the rights and well-being of the world’s children. Researching the changing world around us and evaluating progress are two sides of the same coin, both critical to reimagining a better future for children. In recognition of this, UNICEF celebrates and showcases innovative and influential research and evaluations from our offices around the world every year. For 2020, Innocenti and the Evaluation Office joined forces to find the most rigorous UNICEF studies with greatest influence on policies and programmes that benefit children.
2019 was a year of celebration and achievement for UNICEF Innocenti. It marked the research Centre’s 30th anniversary, which coincided with the 30th year of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the global charter of children’s rights. And it was the 600th anniversary of our home, the Istituto degli Innocenti, perhaps the world’s oldest continuously operating institution dedicated to childcare. Throughout 2019, we celebrated several events with our Italian hosts – the Government of Italy, the Regione Toscana, the City of Florence and the Istituto degli Innocenti – to which we are all immensely grateful for their unstinting support over the past three decades. This Annual Report outlines some of our achievements in our key strategic workstreams of research generation, research facilitation, and convening and communication, during 2019.
How Effective are Cash Transfers in Mitigating Shocks for Vulnerable Children? Evidence on the impact of the Lesotho Child Grant Programme on multidimensional deprivation
Shocks can pressure families into negative coping strategies with significant drawbacks for children’s lives and development, particularly for children living in disadvantaged households who are at greater risk of falling into a poverty trap. This paper investigates if unconditional cash transfers can be effective in protecting children against unexpected negative life events. Using two waves of data, we found that the Lesotho Child Grant Programme reduced the incidence and intensity of multidimensional deprivation for children living in labour-constrained female-headed households that experienced negative economic or demographic shocks. Programme design in shock-prone contexts should seek to reinforce and widen the protective effect of the cash transfer for the most vulnerable.
The Difference a Dollar a Day Can Make: Lessons from UNICEF Jordan's Hajati cash transfer programme
What difference does a dollar a day make? For the poorest households in Jordan, many of whom escaped conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic, UNICEF Jordan’s Hajati humanitarian cash transfer programme helps them keep their children in school, fed and clothed – all for less than one dollar per day. In fact, cash transfers have the potential to touch on myriad of child and household well-being outcomes beyond food security and schooling.
Multidimensional child poverty measurement in Sierra Leone and Lao PDR: Contrasting individual- and household-based approaches
This research brief compares the properties of individual- and household-based multidimensional child poverty approaches. Specifically, it contrasts UNICEF’s Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis (MODA) with the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) developed by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative. MODA focuses on children and is rooted in the child rights approach, while MPI has been developed for households and follows Sen’s (1985) capabilities approach. We demonstrate their similarities and differences using two recent Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys: Sierra Leone and Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR). The analysis suggests that MODA tends to produce higher multidimensional child poverty headcount rates than MPI, both because of the differences in the survey items used to construct the indicators of deprivation and because of how the indicators are aggregated and weighted.