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UNICEF Innocenti's complete catalogue of research and reports
Places and Spaces: Environments and children’s well-being
SPOTLIGHT

Places and Spaces: Environments and children’s well-being

Report Card 17 explores how 43 OECD/EU countries are faring in providing healthy environments for children. Do children have clean water to drink? Do they have good-quality air to breathe? Are their homes free of lead and mould? How many children live in overcrowded homes? How many have access to green play spaces, safe from road traffic? Data show that a nation’s wealth does not guarantee a healthy environment. Far too many children are deprived of a healthy home, irreversibly damaging their current and future well-being. Beyond children’s immediate environments, over-consumption in some of the world’s richest countries is destroying children’s environments globally. This threatens both children worldwide and future generations. To provide all children with safe and healthy environments, governments, policymakers, businesses and all stakeholders are called to act on a set of policy recommendations.
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Income Distribution, Economic Systems and Transition
Income Distribution, Economic Systems and Transition

AUTHOR(S)
John Flemming; John Micklewright

The differences in income distribution between market and planned economies are considered in two ways. First, using benchmarks from the OECD area, evidence from the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union during the socialist period is reviewed. Second, the authors consider the transitions currently being made by the latter countries. Three factors are then considered: (i) the distribution of earnings of full-time employees, (ii) the distribution of individuals’ per capita household incomes, and (iii) the ways in which non-wage benefits from work, price subsidies and social incomes in kind change the picture. For the socialist period long series of data, often covering several decades, are available and thus changes in distribution under the socialist system can be tracked and diversity between the countries shown. For the period of transition, the series of data are inevitably shorter, however, it is possible to avoid basing conclusions on evidence drawn from single years. During transition, as under socialism, the picture is varied. Russia has experienced very sharp increases in measured inequality to well above the top of the OECD range. The Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland have seen more modest rises. However, a satisfactory analytic framework encompassing enough features of the transition to help interpretation of the data is lacking.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 100 | Thematic area: Countries in Transition | Tags: comparative analysis, economic transition, income distribution | Publisher: UNICEF ICDC, Florence
Child Poverty across Industrialized Nations

AUTHOR(S)
Bruce Bradbury; Markus Jantti

While child poverty is everywhere seen as an important social problem, there is considerable variation in both anti-poverty policies and poverty outcomes across the industrialized nations. In this paper we present new estimates of patterns of child income poverty in 25 nations using data from the Luxembourg Income Study. These estimates are presented using a range of alternative income poverty definitions and describe the correlations of outcomes with different demographic patterns and labour market and social transfer incomes. Evidence on cross-national patterns of non-cash income receipt suggests that more comprehensive measures, which include non-cash benefits, would be unlikely to change the overall pattern of poverty. We then examine the impact of household savings patterns (particularly via house purchase) on child consumption and conclude that this also does not change the picture provided by income measures alone. The paper concludes with an analysis of the sources of the variation in child poverty across nations.
The Education of Children with Special Needs: Barriers and opportunities in Central and Eastern Europe
The Education of Children with Special Needs: Barriers and opportunities in Central and Eastern Europe

AUTHOR(S)
Mel Ainscow; Memmenasha Haile-Giorgis

Children with disabilities and many others who experience difficulties in learning are often marginalized within or even excluded from school systems. This paper considers the situation in countries of Central and Eastern Europe, examining particular developments that have occurred in recent years and how these compare with overall trends internationally. This analysis suggests certain barriers to progress, including attitudes within communities towards certain groups of children, traditional practices in the field of special education, and the effects of the depressed economic situation within the region. The paper concludes with a consideration of possible opportunities for improvements in provision and an outline of issues that need to be kept in mind.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 40 | Thematic area: Education | Tags: disabled children, education, equal opportunities, rights of disabled children | Publisher: UNICEF ICDC, Florence
Income Inequality and Mobility in Hungary 1992-96
Income Inequality and Mobility in Hungary 1992-96

AUTHOR(S)
Peter Galasi

The first half of the 1990s brought major changes to Hungary. The positive sides of the transformation in the Hungarian economy and society were accompanied by less welcome aspects - a sharp fall in GDP, double-digit unemployment and falling real incomes. How have children fared in these circumstances? This paper considers the changing position of children in the Hungarian income distribution, comparing it to that of the elderly - another potentially vulnerable group whose incomes, like those of households with children, are a concern for policymakers.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 34 | Thematic area: Countries in Transition | Tags: child welfare, economic transition, income distribution, vulnerable groups | Publisher: UNICEF ICDC, Florence
Targeting Social Assistance in a Transition Economy: the Mahallas in Uzbekistan
Targeting Social Assistance in a Transition Economy: the Mahallas in Uzbekistan

AUTHOR(S)
Aline Coudouel; John Micklewright; Sheila Marnie

Falling output and living standards have pushed countries in transition from the socialist system to re-consider how best to target public resources on those in need. The paper investigates the workings of a new social assistance benefit in Uzbekistan, the largest of the former Soviet Central Asian republics, administered by community organizations, the Mahallas. Data used from a 1995 household survey to assess the scheme's success in targeting the most vulnerable households, using a variety of indicators including income, durable goods ownership, agricultural assets, employment status, and the anthropometric status of children. The separate probabilities of knowledge of the scheme, of application for benefit, and of award are modelled.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 32 | Thematic area: Countries in Transition | Tags: economic transition, living standards, social indicators, social policy | Publisher: UNICEF ICDC, Florence
Child Poverty in Spain: What can be said?
Child Poverty in Spain: What can be said?

AUTHOR(S)
Olga Cantó Sanchez; Magda Mercader-Prats

During the last three decades Spain has undergone a major political and socio-economic transformation. Over the same period, indicators such as average welfare levels as measured by real disposable per capita income or expenditure on social protection have shown a signifiant net rise; this growth has occurred in parallel with both an increasing flexibility in the labour market and a dramatic jump in unemployment. In contrast with many other European countries in which relative poverty has been tending to increase in recent decades, poverty in Spain has been slightly reduced. The effect of these changes on the economic welfare situation of children has not been explored. The aim of this paper is therefore to provide evidence on the static and dynamic aspects of relative poverty among children, namely, its extent, evolution and persistence.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 28 | Thematic area: Child Poverty | Tags: child poverty, child welfare, economic reform, industrialized countries | Publisher: UNICEF ICDC, Florence
Accounting for the Family: The treatment of marriage and children in European income tax systems
Accounting for the Family: The treatment of marriage and children in European income tax systems

AUTHOR(S)
Cathal O’Donoghue; Holly Sutherland

In some countries family status has little or no impact on the amount of tax that an individual pays. In others the income tax system plays a major role in the redistribution of income among families of different types. This paper examines the treatment of the family in European tax systems. It surveys the various instruments which are used to take account of marriage and the presence of children and describes the current systems in the 15 European Union countries. Tax systems are expected to achieve many things, and the paper discusses the tradeoffs involved in attempting to reconcile conflicting aims, with a particular focus on the impact of the various approaches on the welfare of children.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 54 | Thematic area: Industrialized Countries | Tags: family income, income distribution, income redistribution, tax systems | Publisher: UNICEF ICDC, Florence
EMU, Macroeconomics and Children
EMU, Macroeconomics and Children

AUTHOR(S)
Anthony B. Atkinson

How can EMU be expected to affect the children of Europe? Macroeconomics in OECD countries has tended to become a remote and abstract subject, discussed in aggregate terms which seem far removed from the everyday experience of families. Much of this paper is concerned with making the link between macroeconomic analysis and family welfare, a link which is important for all age groups, but particularly so for children. Childhood is a vulnerable stage of the life-cycle, and children may be especially sensitive to macroeconomic shocks yet the public debate about EMU has been largely divorced from the concerns of families and children. Several proposals emerge from the analysis for improvements in our monitoring of economic performance to make them more family orientated.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 24 | Thematic area: Economic Development | Tags: child welfare, economic development, european communities, family income, family welfare | Publisher: UNICEF ICDC, Florence
Living Standards and Public Policy in Central Asia: What can be learned from child anthropometry?
Living Standards and Public Policy in Central Asia: What can be learned from child anthropometry?

AUTHOR(S)
Suraiya Ismail; John Micklewright

Data on the weight and height of children are used to assess living standards and public policy in Uzbekistan, the most populous of the Central Asian republics. The paper begins by making the case for the use of such data, contrasting them with monetized measures of welfare based on household incomes or expenditures, before going on to review the problems of interpretation that anthropometry presents for the economist. The prevalence of stunting and wasting in three regions of Uzbekistan is compared with that in neighbouring Kazakhstan and with other countries from outside the region. Multivariate analysis is then used to test three hypotheses concerning rural-urban differences in living standards, the impact of kindergartens on nutritional status, and the targeting of means-tested social assistance.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 28 | Thematic area: Countries in Transition | Tags: economic transition, rural-urban disparity, standard of living | Publisher: UNICEF ICDC, Florence
Decentralization: A survey from a child welfare perspective
Decentralization: A survey from a child welfare perspective

AUTHOR(S)
Jeni Klugman

This paper develops a framework by which the impact of decentralization of government on child welfare can be assessed. Consistent with the child welfare perspective, it is suggested that equity should be given greatest weight, in terms of both equality of opportunity and progress in reducing disparities in access. Allocative efficiency, a notion that has figured prominently in the economics literature about the merits of decentralization, is shown to have limited value once we accept the existence of externalities and public goods in the provision of basic services. The review of available evidence for Asian and transition countries suggests that there is a significant risk that equity can be adversely affected by the decentralization of education and the associated financing arrangements.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 52 | Thematic area: Countries in Transition | Tags: access to basic services, child welfare, decentralization, economic transition, equal opportunities | Publisher: UNICEF ICDC, Florence
Are Intergovernmental Transfers in Russia Equalizing?
Are Intergovernmental Transfers in Russia Equalizing?

AUTHOR(S)
Kitty Stewart

Since the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991, the 88 regions of the Russian Federation have enjoyed increasing autonomy, and by 1994 almost half of all budgetary expenditure in Russia was spent at the regional level. This paper examines the system of transfers which has developed in Russia over the last few years and asks how far it has succeeded in making up for regional revenue disparities. Transfers seem to be directed in broadly the right direction before and after the introduction of the formula mechanism: transfers are higher to regions with greater needs. The bad news, however, is that the impact of the transfers has been minimal. Lower revenue regions may have received more in transfers than higher revenue regions, but not nearly enough to offset the difference in revenue.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 46 | Thematic area: Countries in Transition | Tags: economic and social development, economic transition, public expenditures, tax revenues | Publisher: UNICEF ICDC, Florence
The Implications of Exhausting Unemployment Insurance Entitlement in Hungary
The Implications of Exhausting Unemployment Insurance Entitlement in Hungary

AUTHOR(S)
John Micklewright; Gyula Nagy

The single most likely way to leave the unemployment insurance (UI) register in Hungary is not by getting a job but by running out of benefit. This situation raises two questions. First, what are the implications of the cessation of UI for living standards? Second, does UI exhaustion have much effect on the probability of getting a job through increasing incentives to work? The authors investigate these issues with a survey of persons exhausting entitlement to UI in summer 1995, paying special attention to the household circumstances of the unemployed and the probabilities of claiming and being awarded means-tested assistance benefit.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 28 | Thematic area: Countries in Transition | Tags: economic transition | Publisher: UNICEF ICDC, Florence
1 - 12 of 73
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Return on Knowledge: How international development agencies are collaborating to deliver impact through knowledge, learning, research and evidence
Publication

Return on Knowledge: How international development agencies are collaborating to deliver impact through knowledge, learning, research and evidence

Effective collaboration around knowledge management and organizational learning is a key contributor to improving the impact of international development work for the world’s most vulnerable people. But how can it be proven? With only 10 years from the target date for the Sustainable Development Goals, nine of the world’s most influential agencies set out to show to the connection between the use of evidence, knowledge and learning and a better quality of human life. This book – a synthesis of stories, examples and insights that demonstrate where and how these practices have made a positive impact on development programming – is the result of the Multi-Donor Learning Partnership (MDLP), a collective effort to record the ways each of these organizations have leveraged intentional, systematic and resourced approaches to knowledge management and organizational learning in their work.
Gender Solutions: Capturing the impact of UNICEF’s gender equality evidence investments (2014–2021)
Publication

Gender Solutions: Capturing the impact of UNICEF’s gender equality evidence investments (2014–2021)

UNICEF has undertaken hundreds of gender evidence generation activities, supporting programmatic action, advocacy work and policymaking. The Gender Solutions project aims to draw together the knowledge, innovations and impacts of gender evidence work conducted by UNICEF offices since the first UNICEF Gender Action Plan was launched in 2014. A desk review identified over 700 gender-related UNICEF research, evaluation and data evidence generation activities since 2014. Twenty-five outputs were shortlisted because of their high quality and (potential for) impact and three were selected as Gender Evidence Award winners by an external review panel. By capturing the impact of this broad body of work, Gender Solutions aims to showcase UNICEF’s evidence investments, reward excellence and inform the rollout of the UNICEF Gender Policy 2021–2030 and Action Plan 2022–2025.
Annual Report 2021
Publication

Annual Report 2021

The UNICEF Innocenti Annual Report 2021 highlights the key results achieved in research and evidence to inform policymaking and programming.
Responsible Innovation in Technology for Children: Digital technology, play and child well-being
Publication

Responsible Innovation in Technology for Children: Digital technology, play and child well-being

Digital experiences can have significant negative impact on children, exposing them to risks or failing to nurture them adequately. Nevertheless, digital experiences also potentially yield enormous benefits for children, enabling them to learn, to create, to develop friendships, and to build worlds. While global efforts to deepen our understanding of the prevalence and impact of digital risks of harm are burgeoning – a development that is both welcome and necessary – less attention has been paid to understanding and optimizing the benefits that digital technology can provide in supporting children’s rights and their well-being. Benefits here refer not only to the absence of harm, but also to creating additional positive value. How should we recognize the opportunities and benefits of digital technology for children’s well-being? What is the relationship between the design of digital experiences – in particular, play-centred design – and the well-being of children? What guidance and measures can we use to strengthen the design of digital environments to promote positive outcomes for children? And how can we make sure that children’s insights and needs form the foundation of our work in this space? These questions matter for all those who design and promote digital experiences, to keep children safe and happy, and enable positive development and learning. These questions are particularly relevant as the world shifts its attention to emerging digital technologies and experiences, from artificial intelligence (AI) to the metaverse, and seeks to understand their impact on people and society. To begin to tackle these questions, UNICEF and the LEGO Group initiated the Responsible Innovation in Technology for Children (RITEC) project in partnership with the Young and Resilient Research Centre at Western Sydney University; the CREATE Lab at New York University; the Graduate Center, City University of New York; the University of Sheffield; the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child; and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center. The research is funded by the LEGO Foundation. The partnership is an international, multi-stakeholder and cross-sectoral collaboration between organizations that believe the design and development of digital technology should support the rights and well-being of children as a primary objective – and that children should have a prominent voice in making this a reality. This project’s primary objective is to develop, with children from around the world, a framework that maps how the design of children’s digital experiences affects their well-being, and to provide guidance as to how informed design choices can promote positive well-being outcomes.

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