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UNICEF Innocenti's complete catalogue of research and reports
Best of UNICEF Research 2021
SPOTLIGHT

Best of UNICEF Research 2021

Best of UNICEF Research showcases the most rigorous, innovative and impactful research produced by UNICEF offices worldwide. While evidence highlights emerging issues, it also informs decisions and provides policy and programme recommendations for governments and partners to improve children’s lives. This ninth edition brings together 11 powerful studies from around the world and across the five Strategic Goal Areas. How do South Asian youth feel about entering the world of work? What is the effect of climate-related hazards on access to healthcare? How has COVID-19 affected children and their families in the Republic of Moldova? With social and economic inequalities increasing and progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals lagging, rigorous research – answers to these questions – has never mattered more.
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COVID-19: Missing More Than a Classroom. The impact of school closures on children’s nutrition
Blog Blog

COVID-19: Missing More Than a Classroom. The impact of school closures on children’s nutrition

In 2019, 135 million people in 55 countries were in food crises or worse, and 2 billion people did not have regular access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food. COVID-19 has exacerbated these hardships and may result in an additional 121 million people facing acute food insecurity by the end of 2020. Further, since the beginning of the pandemic, an estimated 1.6 billion learners in 199 countries worldwide were affected by school closures, with nearly 370 million children not receiving a school meal in 150 countries. The paper presents the evidence on the potential negative short-term and long-term effects of school meal scheme disruption during Covid-19 globally. It shows how vulnerable the children participating in these schemes are, how coping and mitigation measures are often only short-term solutions, and how prioritizing school re-opening is critical. For instance, it highlights how girls are at greater risk of not being in school or of being taken out of school early, which may lead to poor nutrition and health for themselves and their children. However, well-designed school feeding programmes have been shown to enable catch-up from early growth failure and other negative shocks. As such, once schools re-open, school meal schemes can help address the deprivation that children have experienced during the closures and provide an incentive for parents to send and keep their children, especially girls, in school.
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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
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
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
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
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
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?
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
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
Learning at a Distance: Children’s remote learning experiences in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic
Publication Publication

Learning at a Distance: Children’s remote learning experiences in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic

Italy was the first country in Europe to implement a nationwide lockdown. Children and their families lived in nearly complete isolation for almost two months. Students missed 65 days of school compared to an average of 27 missed days among high-income countries worldwide. This prolonged break is of concern, as even short breaks in schooling can cause significant loss of learning for children and lead to educational inequalities over time. At least 3 million Italian students may not have been reached by remote learning due to a lack of internet connectivity or devices at home. This report explores children’s and parents’ experiences of remote learning during the lockdown in Italy, drawing on data collected from 11 European countries (and coordinated by the European Commission’s Joint Research Center). It explores how children's access and use of digital technologies changed during the pandemic; highlights how existing inequalities might undermine remote learning opportunities, even among those with internet access; and provides insights on how to support children’s remote learning in the future. *** L'Italia e’ stata il primo paese in Europa ad aver applicato la misura del lockdown su tutto il territorio. I bambini e le loro famiglie hanno vissuto in quasi completo isolamento per circa due mesi. Gli studenti hanno perduto 65 giorni di scuola rispetto ad una media di 27 negli altri paesi ad alto reddito del mondo. Questa interruzione prolungata rappresenta motivo di preoccupazione, in quanto persino interruzioni piu’ brevi nella didattica possono causare significative perdite nel livello di istruzione dei ragazzi e portare col tempo a diseguaglianze educative. Almeno 3 milioni di studenti in Italia non sono stati coinvolti nella didattica a distanza a causa d una mancanza di connessione ad internet o di dispositivi adeguati a casa. Questo rapporto analizza l’esperienza della didattica a distanza di ragazzi e genitori in Italia durante il lockdown, sulla base dei dati raccolti in 11 paesi europei (e coordinati dal Centro comune di ricerca della Commissione Europea). Studia il cambiamento nell’accesso e nell’uso delle tecnologie digitali dei bambini e ragazzi durante la pandemia; mette in evidenza come le diseguaglianze esistenti possano diminuire le opportunità offerte dalla didattica a distanza, anche tra coloro che hanno accesso ad internet; e fornisce approfondimenti su come sostenere la didattica a distanza di bambini e ragazzi in futuro.
Vite a Colori: Esperienze, percezioni e opinioni di bambinə e ragazzə sulla pandemia di Covid-19 in Italia
Publication Publication

Vite a Colori: Esperienze, percezioni e opinioni di bambinə e ragazzə sulla pandemia di Covid-19 in Italia

Il rapporto Vite a Colori racconta le esperienze, percezioni ed opinioni di un gruppo di adolescenti sul primo anno di pandemia di Covid-19 in Italia cercando di comprendere le loro esperienze e punti di vista, attraverso le loro parole. La raccolta dati si è svolta tra febbraio e giugno 2021 con 114 partecipanti tra i 10 e i 19 anni, frequentanti le scuole superiori del primo e del secondo ciclo di 16 regioni italiane. Bambinɘ e ragazzɘ che si identificano come LGBTQI+, minori stranieri non accompagnati (MSNA) e adolescenti con background socioeconomico svantaggiato sono stati deliberatamente inclusi nel campione interessato dalla ricerca

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