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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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The Effect of Cash Transfers and Household Vulnerability on Food Insecurity in Zimbabwe
The Effect of Cash Transfers and Household Vulnerability on Food Insecurity in Zimbabwe
Published: 2016 Innocenti Working Papers

We study the impact of the Zimbabwe Harmonized Social Cash Transfer (HSCT) on household food security after 12 months of implementation. The programme has had a strong impact on a well-known food security scale – the Household Food Insecurity Access Scale (HFIAS) – but muted impacts on food consumption expenditure. However aggregate food consumption hides dynamic activity taking place within the household where the cash is used to obtain more food from the market and rely less on food received as gifts. The cash in turn gives them greater choice in their food basket which improves diet diversity. Further investigation of the determinants of food consumption and the HFIAS shows that several dimensions of household vulnerability correlate more strongly with the HFIAS than food consumption. Labour constraints, which is a key vulnerability criterion used by the HSCT to target households, is an important predictor of the HFIAS but not food expenditure, and its effect on food security is even larger during the lean season.

Child Poverty and Deprivation in Bosnia and Herzegovina: National Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis (N-MODA)
Child Poverty and Deprivation in Bosnia and Herzegovina: National Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis (N-MODA)
Published: 2015 Innocenti Working Papers
This report presents the results of the National Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis (N-MODA) for Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). The study shows that almost all children aged 0 to 4 (98.1%) are deprived in at least one dimension, and a third (33.2%) are deprived in four or more dimensions at a time. Children in rural areas are more likely to be deprived in Information and Housing (mostly driven by lack of proper sanitation) than urban children, suggesting infrastructural problems. Having a mother with no or only primary education increases the probability of being deprived in all dimensions except Nutrition and Housing. This study also finds a high degree of overlap across dimensions.
The Impact of Zambia’s Unconditional Child Grant on Schooling and Work: Results from a large-scale social experiment
The Impact of Zambia’s Unconditional Child Grant on Schooling and Work: Results from a large-scale social experiment
Published: 2015 Innocenti Working Papers
Since the mid 1990s, and following the successful implementation of large scale programmes in Brazil, Mexico and South Africa, cash transfers have become an important part of the poverty alleviation toolkit in developing countries, even among the poorest where, for many, such programmes seemed both administratively complex or simply unaffordable. The ‘African model’ of cash transfers has several distinguishing features which differentiate it from those in Latin America. In this article we take advantage of the unconditional nature of the Zambian CGP, which targets families with very young children and whose objectives are focused on their health and development, to see if the programme has an impact on the schooling and work of school-age children who in principle are not the main target population of the programme. We use data from a large-scale social experiment involving 2,500 households, half of whom were randomized out to a delayed-entry control group, which was implemented to assess the impact of the programme.
Cash Transfers and Climate-resilient Development: Evidence from Zambia’s Child Grant Programme
Cash Transfers and Climate-resilient Development: Evidence from Zambia’s Child Grant Programme
Published: 2015 Innocenti Working Papers
This study investigates whether cash transfers enable households facing weather and other negative income shocks to avoid adverse coping strategies that can lead to poverty traps. While cash transfers are not routinely considered in the policy discourse concerning climate adaptation programming, because ex-ante transfers enable households to avoid negative coping strategies and even increase food consumption in the face of covariate weather shocks, cash transfers offer a sound approach for building climate-resilience amongst the world’s most vulnerable and facilitating their “autonomous adaptation” to a changing environment. Cash also enables households to productively cope with the many other idiosyncratic shocks the rural poor routinely face.
Social Networks and Risk Management in Ghana’s Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty Programme
Social Networks and Risk Management in Ghana’s Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty Programme
Published: 2015 Innocenti Working Papers
Understanding how household consumption, investment and saving decisions respond to transfer income is critical to public policy. In developing countries, saving or otherwise investing in the future is difficult for poor households which often struggle to meet basic expenses, while high debt burdens are also obstacles to saving. Poor households in rural areas of developing countries typically manage risk via informal exchanges or transfers among extended family, friends and neighbours. Motivated by the community dynamics observed in the qualitative assessment of LEAP and the unpredictable and lumpy payments made by the programme during the evaluation period, the main interest of this paper is to assess within a quantitative framework the impact of LEAP on household risk reduction strategies via reintegration in, and strengthening of, social networks and reduction of debt exposure.
Household Welfare Measurement in Bangladesh: A tale of two short consumption modules
Household Welfare Measurement in Bangladesh: A tale of two short consumption modules
Published: 2014 Innocenti Working Papers
Two short consumption modules were piloted in Bogra and Sirajganj (Bangladesh) in May-June 2012 as part of the Global MICS5 Pilot. This paper aims at validating this exercise and assessing the accuracy and reliability of the consumption estimates obtained. The use of a benchmark consumption module is essential in order to assess how well the two short options fare; the analysis therefore consists of a systematic comparison of both short modules with a benchmark. The attempt made is to isolate and test the impact of the length (degree of commodity) of the consumption questionnaire on the quality of consumption and poverty estimates as well as distributional measures obtained. We conclude that it is feasible to include a short consumption module in MICS (Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys).
Child Poverty and Deprivation in Mali: The first national estimates
Child Poverty and Deprivation in Mali: The first national estimates
Published: 2014 Innocenti Working Papers
In Mali the national child deprivation rate is 50%, slightly higher than the national (monetary) child poverty rate of 46%. The overlap of children who are both poor and deprived is 29% of all children, hence not all children who are deprived are living in poor households as defined by the national poverty line. Only 58% of children who are deprived live in poor households. Similarly, only 62% of children in poor households are multidimensionally deprived. Consequently, policies that are targeted exclusively on monetary poverty will miss children who are deprived.
Exploring the Late Impact of the Financial Crisis using Gallup World Poll Data
Exploring the Late Impact of the Financial Crisis using Gallup World Poll Data
Published: 2014 Innocenti Working Papers
This paper explores the use of Gallup World Poll Data to assess the impact of the Great Recession on various dimensions of well-being in 41 OECD and/or EU countries from 2007 up until 2013. It should be read as a complementary background paper to the UNICEF Report Card which explores trends in child well-being in EU/OECD countries since 2007/8. Overall the findings provide clear indications that the crisis has had an impact across a number of self-reported dimensions of well-being. Indeed, a strong correlation between the intensity of the recession and the worsening of people’s perceptions about their own life is recorded since 2007. Data also indicate that the impact has still not peaked in a number of countries where indicators were still deteriorating as late as 2013. A “League Table” is also presented where countries are ranked in terms of change between 2007 and 2013 for four selected Gallup World Poll indicators related material well-being, perceptions of how society treats its children, health and subjective well-being.
Child Poverty and the Great Recession in the United States
Child Poverty and the Great Recession in the United States
Published: 2014 Innocenti Working Papers
In the midst of the Great Recession, median real household income fell from $61,597 in 2007 to $57,025 in 2010 and $51,007 in 2012. Given that the effects of the Great Recession on unemployment were greater for less skilled workers the authors expect the effects of the Great Recession on household incomes to be larger in relative terms for individuals in the lower end of the income distribution. To explore this issue, in this paper, they comprehensively examine the effects of the Great Recession on child poverty.
Trends in Child Well-being in EU Countries during the Great Recession: A cross-country comparative perspective
Trends in Child Well-being in EU Countries during the Great Recession: A cross-country comparative perspective
Published: 2014 Innocenti Working Papers
This paper reports on how children have fared during the period of the global economic crisis (Great Recession) in rich European countries. The authors provide a descriptive overview of the evolution in a series of child well-being indicators over time (2007/8-2012/3 ) in 32 countries (the EU-28 plus Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey). The focus is on key child and adolescent outcome indicators that are expected to have been affected by the crisis and its related real-economy effects in the short and medium-term, including child monetary poverty and material deprivation, subjective well-being, and transition to adulthood (including education and employment). Countries’ performances are compared and ranked according to the change they experienced in these indicators over the period under analysis.
Young People (not) in the Labour Market in Rich Countries during the Great Recession
Young People (not) in the Labour Market in Rich Countries during the Great Recession
Published: 2014 Innocenti Working Papers
The global financial crisis of 2007/2008 spilled over into the real economy reducing demand for labour and increasing unemployment. Young people were hit hard, with record numbers of 15-24-year-olds out of work and many of them not in education, employment or training (NEET). More than five years since the outbreak of the financial crisis, the economic recovery remains weak and uneven. The study documents a substantial worsening in the youth labour market situation during the Great Recession across the EU and/or OECD, particularly in countries that suffered greater falls in economic output per capita.
Subjective Well-being, Risk Perceptions and Time Discounting: Evidence from a large-scale cash transfer programme
Subjective Well-being, Risk Perceptions and Time Discounting: Evidence from a large-scale cash transfer programme
Published: 2014 Innocenti Working Papers
The risk and time preferences of individuals as well as their subjective expectations regarding the future are likely to play an important role in choice behaviour. Measurement of these individual characteristics in large-scale surveys has been a recent development and empirical evidence on their associations with behaviour remains limited. We summarize the results of measuring individuals’ attitudes towards inter-temporal choice, risk, and the future in a large-scale field survey in Kenya. We find very low rates of inconsistency in interpreting questions on time and risk preferences. Cash transfers alone do not appear to impact time discounting or risk aversion, but they do have an important impact on subjective well-being measures and on future perceptions of quality of life.
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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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