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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
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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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Unconditional Government Social Cash Transfer in Africa Does not Increase Fertility
Unconditional Government Social Cash Transfer in Africa Does not Increase Fertility
Published: 2015 Innocenti Working Papers
In Africa, one of the key barriers to the scale-up of unconditional cash transfer programmes is the notion held by politicians, and even the general public, that such programmes will induce the poor to have more children. The hard evidence on this question is scanty. The current study uses evaluation data from the Zambian Child Grant Programme (CGP), a large-scale UCT targeted to households with a child under the age of five at programme initiation and evaluates the impact of transfers on fertility and child-fostering decisions. The overall goal of the CGP is to reduce extreme poverty and break the intergenerational transmission of poverty. The results contribute to the small literature that rigorously documents the fertility impacts of unconditional cash transfer programmes in developing countries.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 40 | Thematic area: Social Policies | Tags: cash transfers, economic policy, fertility
Poverty in the Transition: Social expenditures and the working-age poor
Poverty in the Transition: Social expenditures and the working-age poor
Published: 2002 Innocenti Working Papers
A combination of economic growth and committed revenue-raising should give most governments in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union considerable scope to devote increased resources to tackling poverty. We review the extent and nature of poverty across the transition countries, emphasising the phenomenon of the working-age poor. We consider governments' fiscal positions and revenue raising tools, including the issue of whether some countries now have levels of external debt servicing that are so high as to hamper social sector expenditures. We analyse whether the introduction of credible unemployment benefit schemes in the CIS would aid labour market reform and hence help solve the problem there of in-work poverty (we first review experience in Central and Eastern Europe). We focus on the case of Russia, and simulate a simple scheme with 2000 household survey data. The paper concludes by considering the role of improved wages for public service workers and the targeting of categorical benefits.
Social Exclusion and Children: A European view for a US debate
Social Exclusion and Children: A European view for a US debate

AUTHOR(S)
John Micklewright

Published: 2002 Innocenti Working Papers
The concept of social exclusion has been widely debated in Europe but its application to children has seen relatively little discussion. What the social exclusion of children can lead to is the first main theme of the paper, where among other things, the choice of reference group, the geographical dimension of exclusion, and the issue of who is responsible for any exclusion of children are considered. The second main theme is the use of the concept of exclusion in the USA, where in contrast to Europe it has achieved little penetration to date. To assess whether there is fertile ground for discussion of social exclusion as it relates to children in the US, various features of US society and institutions including the measurement of poverty, analysis of children's living standards, state versus federal responsibilities, welfare reform and the emphasis on 'personal responsibility', are all considered.
When the Invisible Hand Rocks the Cradle: New Zealand children in a time of change
When the Invisible Hand Rocks the Cradle: New Zealand children in a time of change
Published: 2002 Innocenti Working Papers
This paper investigates the impact of economic and social reforms on the well-being of children in New Zealand. These reforms were among the most sweeping in scope and scale in any industrialized democracy, but have not led to an overall improvement in the well-being of children. There has been widening inequality between ethnic and income groups which has left many Maori and Pacific children, and children from one parent and poorer families, relatively worse off. The New Zealand experience illustrates the vulnerability of children during periods of social upheaval and change and the importance of having effective mechanisms to monitor, protect and promote the interests of children.
Children in Bulgaria: Growing impoverishment and unequal opportunities
Children in Bulgaria: Growing impoverishment and unequal opportunities

AUTHOR(S)
Roumiana Gantcheva

Published: 2001 Innocenti Working Papers
The social and economic changes in Bulgaria since the beginning of transition naturally raise concern about their impact on child well-being. This paper investigates the changes that occurred over the last decade in three dimensions of child welfare recognised as fundamental child rights economic well-being, health and education. Then it concentrates on particularly vulnerable groups of children those born of teenage and single mothers and those living in institutions. The data show that the human cost of economic transition has been high and children have been among the most vulnerable groups of the society.
Is EFA Affordable? Estimating the global minimum cost of 'Education for All'
Is EFA Affordable? Estimating the global minimum cost of 'Education for All'
Published: 2001 Innocenti Working Papers
Progress towards the target of universal access to basic education by the year 2000, set by two global conferences in 1990, has been too slow in many countries. Most of the reasons for this inadequate progress are country-specific. However, in virtually all countries one explanation stands out: inadequate public finance for primary education. This paper updates the global and regional cost estimates for achieving 'education for all' by 2015 the new target date set by the Social Summit in 1995. The estimates are based on the most recent country-by-country data on budgetary expenditure, population and enrolment trends, and unit cost.
The Dynamics of Child Poverty in Industrialised Countries
The Dynamics of Child Poverty in Industrialised Countries
Published: 2001 Innocenti Publications
A child poverty rate of ten percent could mean that every tenth child is always poor, or that all children are in poverty for one month in every ten. Knowing where reality lies between these extremes is vital to understanding the problem facing many countries of poverty among the young. This unique study goes beyond the standard analysis of child poverty based on poverty rates at one point in time and documents how much movement into and out of poverty by children there actually is, covering a range of industrialised countries - the USA, UK, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Hungary and Russia. Five main topics are addressed: conceptual and measurement issues associated with a dynamic view of child poverty; cross-national comparisons of child poverty rates and trends; cross-national comparisons of children’s movements into and out of poverty; country-specific studies of child poverty dynamics; and the policy implications of taking a dynamic perspective.
Macroeconomics and Data on Children
Macroeconomics and Data on Children

AUTHOR(S)
John Micklewright

Published: 2000 Innocenti Working Papers
Putting data on children into macroeconomic debate can be achieved in a variety of ways. Economic policy is about improving the lives of people and the most basic data of all concerning children - demographic data - can be used to underline this fact. The key economic variables on which economic policy operates can all be given a child dimension. And direct measures of various dimensions of child well-being must also be brought into the picture.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 18 | Thematic area: Economic Development | Tags: child welfare, demographic indicators, economic policy | Publisher: Innocenti Research Centre
How Effective is the British Government's Attempt to Reduce Child Poverty?
How Effective is the British Government's Attempt to Reduce Child Poverty?
Published: 2000 Innocenti Working Papers
The Labour Government elected in 1997 in Britain made the reduction of child poverty one of its central objectives. This paper describes the specific initiatives involved in Labour’s approach and weighs them up in terms of their potential impact. After setting out the extent of the problem of child poverty, the causes are discussed and Britain's problem is set in international perspective. The impact on child poverty of policies designed to raise incomes directly is analysed using micro-simulation modelling. A major emphasis of the policy was the promotion of paid work, and the potential for poverty reduction of increasing the employment of parents is explored.
Market Reforms and Social Welfare in the Czech Republic: A true success story?
Market Reforms and Social Welfare in the Czech Republic: A true success story?
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 44 | Thematic area: Countries in Transition | Tags: economic policy, economic transition, social welfare | Publisher: UNICEF ICDC, Florence
Réformes fiscales, génération de ressources et équit en Afrique subsaharienne durant les années 1980
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 56 | Thematic area: Economic Development | Tags: economic policy, fiscal policy, social inequality | Publisher: UNICEF ICDC, Florence
The Economics of Disarmament: Prospects, problems and policies for the disarmament dividend
The Economics of Disarmament: Prospects, problems and policies for the disarmament dividend

AUTHOR(S)
Saadet Deger

Cite this publication | No. of pages: 40 | Thematic area: Economic Development | Tags: disarmament, economic policy | Publisher: UNICEF ICDC, Florence
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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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