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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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Child Malnutrition, Consumption Growth, Maternal Care and Price Shocks: New Evidence from Northern Ghana
Child Malnutrition, Consumption Growth, Maternal Care and Price Shocks: New Evidence from Northern Ghana

AUTHOR(S)
Richard de Groot; Sudhanshu Handa; Luigi Peter Ragno; Tayllor Spadafora

Published: 2017 Innocenti Working Papers

Childhood malnutrition remains a significant global health concern. In order to implement effective policies to address the issue, it is crucial to first understand the mechanisms underlying malnutrition. This paper uses a unique dataset from Northern Ghana to explain the underlying causes of childhood malnutrition. It adopts an empirical framework to model inputs in the production of health and nutrition, as a function of child, household and community characteristics. The findings suggest that child characteristics are important in explaining inputs and nutritional outcomes, and that maternal agency and health contribute to improved health status. Household resources in the form of consumption are positively associated with food intake and nutritional outcomes. Simulations show that income growth, improving maternal care and avoiding sudden price shocks have a positive but rather limited effect on the reduction of malnutrition. Effects are greater in children under two. Hence, policies that address underlying determinants simultaneously, and target the youngest population of children, could have the largest effect on reducing malnutrition in this population.

2016 Results Report
2016 Results Report

AUTHOR(S)
Prerna Banati; Michelle Godwin

Published: 2017 Innocenti Publications

The 2016 UNICEF Innocenti Results Report presents the activities and key results of the Office of Research achieved in 2016. Research continues to influence policy and practice by addressing inequalities in child well-being and expanding the international evidence base in social protection, child poverty, child protection and education. New and emerging areas of research are beginning to address critical gaps for children, including migration and displacement, children in care work and gender inequality. Enhanced reach, improved dissemination platforms and growing influence are creating positive impacts on social policy for children in various countries. Over 140 research products were published in a range of print and electronic media, including peer-reviewed journal articles, contributions to edited volumes, working papers, research reports and resources, digests, briefs, blogs, podcasts and videos.

Unconditional Government Social Cash Transfers in Africa Do Not Increase Fertility: Issue Brief
Unconditional Government Social Cash Transfers in Africa Do Not Increase Fertility: Issue Brief

AUTHOR(S)
Tia Palermo; Lisa Hjelm

Published: 2016 Innocenti Research Briefs

A common perception surrounding the design and implementation of social cash transfers is that those targeted to families with young children will incentivize families to have more children. To date, however, research on unconditional cash transfer programmes in Africa (including Kenya, Malawi, South Africa and Zambia) have demonstrated no impacts of cash transfer programmes on increased fertility. Examples are given of how some design features capable of minimizing the fertility incentive can be built into programmes.

Early-life Exposure to Income Inequality and Adolescent Health and Well-being: Evidence from the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Study
Early-life Exposure to Income Inequality and Adolescent Health and Well-being: Evidence from the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Study

AUTHOR(S)
Frank J. Elgar; Candace Currie

Published: 2016 Innocenti Working Papers

Children and adolescents living in relative poverty – regardless of overall material conditions – tend to experience more interpersonal violence, family turmoil, and environmental hazards that increase risk of injury, engage in more health compromising behaviours (e.g., physical inactivity, poor nutrition, smoking), report lower subjective well-being, and exhibit more social skills deficits and emotional and behavioural problems.

Fairness for Children. A league table of inequality in child well-being in rich countries
Fairness for Children. A league table of inequality in child well-being in rich countries
Published: 2016 Innocenti Report Card

This Report Card presents an overview of inequalities in child well-being in 41 countries of the European Union (EU) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). It focuses on ‘bottom-end inequality’ – the gap between children at the bottom and those in the middle – and addresses the question ‘how far behind are children being allowed to fall?’ in income, education, health and life satisfaction.
Across the OECD, he risks of poverty have been shifting from the elderly towards youth since the 1980s. These developments accentuate the need to monitor the well-being of the most disadvantaged children, but income inequality also has far-reaching consequences for society, harming educational attainment, key health outcomes and even economic growth. A concern with fairness and social justice requires us to consider whether some members of society are being left so far behind that it unfairly affects their lives both now and in the future.This Report Card asks the same underlying question as Report Card 9, which focused on inequality in child well-being, but uses the most recent data available and includes more countries.

Equità per i bambini. Una classifica della disuguaglianza nel benessere dei bambini nei paesi ricchi
Equità per i bambini. Una classifica della disuguaglianza nel benessere dei bambini nei paesi ricchi
Published: 2016 Innocenti Report Card
Questa Report Card presenta una panoramica delle disuguaglianze nel benessere dei bambini in 41 paesi dell'Unione Europea (UE) e dell'Organizzazione per la cooperazione e lo sviluppo economico (OCSE). Essa verte principalmente sulla “disuguaglianza nella fascia più bassa”, ossia il divario fra i bambini nella fascia più bassa della distribuzione e quelli nella fascia media, e affronta la questione “fino a che punto si permette che i bambini restino indietro?” in termini di reddito, istruzione, salute e soddisfazione nei confronti della vita.
In tutta l'area OCSE, a partire dagli anni ottanta del secolo scorso il rischio povertà si è progressivamente trasferito dagli anziani ai giovani. Tali sviluppi rendono ancora più urgente la necessità di monitorare il  benessere dei bambini più svantaggiati, ma la disuguaglianza reddituale comporta anche conseguenze a lungo termine per la società, andando a colpire il livello di istruzione, condizioni di salute chiave e persino la crescita economica. L’interesse per l'equità e la giustizia sociale ci impone di valutare se alcuni membri della società vengano lasciati così indietro da comprometterne la qualità della vita, sia attuale che futura. Questa Report Card si pone lo stesso interrogativo alla base della Report Card 9, dedicata alla disuguaglianza nel benessere dei bambini, ma utilizza i dati più recenti disponibili e comprende un maggior numero di paesi.
Equidad para los niños. Una tabla clasificatoria de la desigualdad respecto al bienestar infantil en los países ricos
Equidad para los niños. Una tabla clasificatoria de la desigualdad respecto al bienestar infantil en los países ricos
Published: 2016 Innocenti Report Card
En este Report Card se describen las desigualdades en el bienestar infantil en 41 países de la Unión Europea (UE) y la Organización de Cooperación y Desarrollo Económicos (OCDE). Se examina la desigualdad en el extremo inferior de la distribución, es decir, la brecha entre los niños que se sitúan en la parte baja y los que ocupan la posición media. Al mismo tiempo, se estudia hasta qué punto se deja que los niños se queden atrás en  términos de ingresos, educación, salud y satisfacción en la vida. En todos los países de la OCDE, el riesgo de caer en la pobreza era mayor para los ancianos, pero desde la década de 1980, el riesgo amenaza principalmente a los jóvenes. Esa evolución acentúa la necesidad de supervisar el bienestar de los niños más desfavorecidos —aunque la desigualdad de ingresos también tiene consecuencias de amplio alcance para la sociedad—, puesto que socava los logros académicos, los resultados sanitarios clave e incluso el crecimiento económico. El interés por instaurar la equidad y la justicia social obliga a determinar si la desigualdad que sufren algunos miembros de la sociedad es tal que afecta injustamente a su vida presente y futura. En este Report Card se plantea la misma pregunta básica que en el Report Card n.° 9, el cual se centraba en la desigualdad en el bienestar infantil, pero se emplean los datos disponibles más recientes y se abarca un mayor número de países.
Équité entre les enfants. Tableau de classement des inégalités de bien-être entre les enfants des pays riches
Équité entre les enfants. Tableau de classement des inégalités de bien-être entre les enfants des pays riches
Published: 2016 Innocenti Report Card
Ce Bilan présente une vue d’ensemble des inégalités de bien-être entre les enfants de 41 pays de l’Union européenne (UE) et de l’Organisation de coopération et de développement économiques (OCDE). Il se concentre sur les « inégalités dans la partie inférieure de la distribution », c’est-àdire l’écart entre les enfants du bas et ceux du milieu de la distribution, et cherche à savoir jusqu’où la société laisse se creuser le fossé entre les enfants en matière de revenus, d’éducation, de santé et de satisfaction dans la vie. Dans toute l’OCDE, la tendance a évolué depuis les années 1980 : ce sont désormais les jeunes, et non plus les personnes âgées, qui  risquent le plus de tomber dans la pauvreté. Ces évolutions accentuent la nécessité de surveiller le bien-être des enfants les plus défavorisés ; en outre, les inégalités en matière de revenus ont des répercussions considérables sur la société, puisqu’elles ont un impact négatif sur la réussite scolaire, les principaux indicateurs dans le domaine de la santé, voire la croissance économique. Se soucier de l’équité et de la justice sociale implique de déterminer si l’écart entre les membres de la société est tel que certains s’en trouvent pénalisés, non seulement dans leur vie actuelle, mais aussi pour leur avenir3. Le présent Bilan pose les mêmes questions sous-jacentes que le Bilan 9 sur les inégalités de bienêtre entre les enfants, mais repose sur les données disponibles les plus récentes et inclut davantage de pays.
Children in the Bottom of Income Distribution in Europe: Risks and composition
Children in the Bottom of Income Distribution in Europe: Risks and composition

AUTHOR(S)
Emilia Toczydlowska

Published: 2016 Innocenti Working Papers
In the context of increasing child poverty, deprivation rates and the relative child income gap, and with the most economically vulnerable children hit extensively by the crisis (Chzhen 2014), this paper sets out to understand who are the most disadvantaged children. Analysis of the composition of the children at the bottom end of the income distribution illustrates that households with a lone parent, at least one migrant member, low work intensity, low education, or in large families are overrepresented in the first decile to different degrees in European countries. The analyses also reveal immense differences in living standards for children across Europe. In European countries included in the analyses, at least 1 in 5 children in the poorest decile lives in a deprived household.  A closer look at the different dimensions of deprivation at the child-specific level, reveals what living in the poorest decile means for children’s everyday life.
Child Poverty Dynamics and Income Mobility in Europe
Child Poverty Dynamics and Income Mobility in Europe

AUTHOR(S)
Yekaterina Chzhen; Emilia Toczydlowska; Sudhanshu Handa

Published: 2016 Innocenti Working Papers
While a long-standing literature analyses cross-country variation in the incidence of child poverty in rich countries in a single year, less is known about children’s individual movements into and out of low household income over a period of time. Using longitudinal data from the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC), the present study addresses this gap by analysing both income mobility and child poverty dynamics in the EU during the recent economic crisis. It finds that income growth among children has been generally pro-poor but not sufficiently so to put a brake on the increasing income inequality. There is substantial heterogeneity among the EU-SILC countries in the rates of child poverty entry and exit. Scandinavian countries tend to combine lower exit and entry rates, while Southern and Eastern European countries tend to have higher rates of both poverty exit and entry.
Bottom-end Inequality: Are children with an immigrant background at a disadvantage?
Bottom-end Inequality: Are children with an immigrant background at a disadvantage?

AUTHOR(S)
Zlata Bruckauf; Yekaterina Chzhen; Emilia Toczydlowska

Published: 2016 Innocenti Research Briefs

The extent to which the socio-demographic composition of child populations drives inequality in child well-being depends on which children are most likely to do much worse than their peers. In this Research Brief we present evidence on the socio-economic vulnerability of immigrant children and highlight the relative contribution of immigrant background to the risks of falling behind in household income, education, health and life satisfaction.

Income Inequality among Children in Europe 2008–2013
Income Inequality among Children in Europe 2008–2013

AUTHOR(S)
Emilia Toczydlowska; Yekaterina Chzhen; Zlata Bruckauf; Sudhanshu Handa

Published: 2016 Innocenti Working Papers
With income inequality increasing and children exposed to higher risks of poverty and material deprivation than the population as a whole in the majority of European countries, there is a concern that income inequality among children has worsened over the financial crisis. This paper presents results on the levels of bottom-end inequality in children’s incomes in 31 European countries in 2013 and traces the evolution of this measure since 2008. The relative income gap worsened in 20 of the 31 European countries between 2008 and 2013. Social transfers play a positive role in reducing income differentials, as post-transfer income gaps are smaller than those before transfers, especially in countries like Ireland and the United Kingdom. Countries with greater bottom-end income inequality among children have lower levels of child well-being, and higher levels of child poverty and material deprivation.
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JOURNAL ARTICLES BLOGS
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.
Increasing Women’s Representation in School Leadership: A promising path towards improving learning
Publication

Increasing Women’s Representation in School Leadership: A promising path towards improving learning

Emerging evidence shows a positive association between women school leaders and student performance. Some studies suggest women school leaders are more likely than their male counterparts to adopt effective management practices that may contribute to improved outcomes. However, women remain largely underrepresented in school leadership positions, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. This brief presents emerging insights on the association between women school leaders and education outcomes and draws attention to women’s underrepresentation in school leadership roles. It highlights the need for further research on gender and school leadership to identify policies and practices that can be implemented to increase women’s representation and scale high-quality management practices adopted by women leaders to more schools to improve education outcomes for all children.
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.
Reopening with Resilience: Lessons from Remote Learning during COVID-19: Europe and Central Asia
Publication

Reopening with Resilience: Lessons from Remote Learning during COVID-19: Europe and Central Asia

When schools started closing their doors due to COVID-19, countries in Europe and Central Asia quickly provided alternative learning solutions for children to continue learning. More than 90 per cent of countries offered digital solutions to ensure that education activities could continue. However, lack of access to digital devices and a reliable internet connection excluded a significant amount of already marginalized children and threatened to widen the existing learning disparities. This report builds on existing evidence highlighting key lessons learned during the pandemic to promote learning for all during school closure and provides actionable policy recommendations on how to bridge the digital divide and build resilient education systems in Europe and Central Asia.

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