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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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Causal impacts of government social expenditure on infant mortality in Latin America and the Caribbean: New evidence from 1990–2017 data
Causal impacts of government social expenditure on infant mortality in Latin America and the Caribbean: New evidence from 1990–2017 data

AUTHOR(S)
Alessandro Carraro

Published: 2021 Innocenti Working Papers

Does governments’ social spending reduce infant mortality? If so, what are the causal mechanisms behind this effect? Using evidence from 19 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (1990 to 2017), this paper examines various influences – including decreased income inequality and dependence on natural resources – to determine if and how increased public expenditure in the social sector is causally linked with reduced infant mortality.

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.

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.
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.
Child Poverty Dynamics in Seven Nations
Child Poverty Dynamics in Seven Nations

AUTHOR(S)
Bruce Bradbury; Stephen P. Jenkins; John Micklewright

Published: 2000 Innocenti Working Papers
This paper compares child poverty dynamics cross-nationally using panel data from seven nations: the USA, Britain, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Hungary, and Russia. As well as using standard relative poverty definitions the paper examines flows into and out of the poorest fifth of the children's income distribution. Significant (but not total) uniformity in patterns of income mobility and poverty dynamics across the seven countries is found. The key exception is Russia, where the economic transition has led to a much higher degree of mobility. Interestingly, the USA which has the highest level of relative poverty among the rich nations, has a mobility rate which, if anything, is less than that of the other nations.
Cite this publication | No. of pages: 48 | Thematic area: Child Poverty | Tags: child poverty, comparative analysis, income distribution, industrialized countries | Publisher: UNICEF IRC
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
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
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
Income Distribution, Poverty and Welfare in Transitional Economies: A comparison between Eastern Europe and China
Income Distribution, Poverty and Welfare in Transitional Economies: A comparison between Eastern Europe and China

AUTHOR(S)
Giovanni Andrea Cornia

Cite this publication | No. of pages: 48 | Thematic area: Countries in Transition | Tags: economic transition, income distribution, poverty, welfare economics | Publisher: UNICEF ICDC, Florence
Growth, Income Distribution and Household Welfare in the Industrialized Countries since the First Oil Shock
Growth, Income Distribution and Household Welfare in the Industrialized Countries since the First Oil Shock

AUTHOR(S)
Andrea Boltho

Cite this publication | No. of pages: 44 | Thematic area: Industrialized Countries | Tags: family income, family welfare, income distribution, industrialized countries | Publisher: UNICEF ICDC, Florence
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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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