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Historical Perspectives

Innocenti Digest

The Innocenti Digests provide clear summaries of current knowledge and debate on specific child rights issues. They are written in an accessible style for use by a wide range of audiences, including policy makers, researchers, UNICEF staff, journalists and members of the public. Each Digest includes a Links Section, guiding the reader to relevant organizations and information sources.

Innocenti Essay

Innocenti Global Seminar

Innocenti Insights

Insights take an intensive look at a specific child rights issue, expanding on a particular perspective or argument. Insights examine emerging, complex and sometime controversial issues that have a direct bearing on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Innocenti Lectures

Innocenti Occasional Papers, Child Rights Series

Innocenti Occasional Papers, Decentralization and Local Governance Series

Innocenti Occasional Papers, Economic Policy Series

The series Innocenti Occasional Papers, Economic and Social Policy (IOPs) has become Innocenti Working Papers as of no. 72. The numbering is consecutive. Papers 63 onwards are also available for download.

Innocenti Occasional Papers, Urban Child Series

Innocenti Publications

Innocenti Publications refer to other types of studies, often jointly produced with others, including case studies and policy reviews that are oriented to a wide audience.

Innocenti Social Monitor

The Centre's MONEE Project has been monitoring the impact of the social and economic changes in Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States since 1992, making a major contribution to the debate on public policies on children's issues in the region. The Social Monitor reports on trends in the welfare of children, young people and women in the CEE/CIS/Baltics region, and to serve as a basis for advocacy and policy debate in the region. It partially replaces the Regional Monitoring Report series (eight of which were produced between 1993 and 2001). It is published for a non-specialist audience, and widely distributed in both English and Russian versions to policymakers, international organisations, interest groups and the international media. As of 2009 the same MONEE project functions are shifting to the UNICEF CEE/CIS Regional Office.

Innocenti Studies

Methodological Briefs

Methodological Briefs cover the range of options and elements available in conducting sound research and delivering reliable results. They cover impact evaluation, strategies and causal attributions and different data collection and analysis methods.

Regional Monitoring Report

The Centre's MONEE Project has been monitoring the impact of the social and economic changes in Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States since 1992, making a major contribution to the debate on public policies on children's issues in the region. The Project includes the Regional Monitoring Report, published annually in English and Russian. The Report covers every country in the region, providing authoritative statistics on the situation of children, backed by detailed analysis.


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This research brief is one of a series of five briefs which provide an overview of available evidence shown in the Campbell Collaboration-UNICEF Mega-Map on the effectiveness of interventions to improve child welfare in low- and middle-income countries. These briefs summarize evidence as mapped against the five goal areas of UNICEF’s 2018–2021 Strategic Plan, although it is anticipated that they will also be useful for others working in the child well-being space. This brief provides an overview of the available evidence related to interventions to ensure that every child has an equitable chance in life.

Resumen trimestral que destaca las noticias y recursos más significativos de la investigación sobre el bienestar de los adolescentes durante los tres últimos meses.

Experience with urban social assistance programmes is still limited. Many of the existing urban programmes are extensions or duplicates of rural programmes, but urban-sensitive social protection needs to reflect the distinct vulnerabilities of the urban poor. Furthermore, applying a child lens requires identifying and addressing the specific risks and multiple deprivations that are experienced by half of urban children in developing countries. As a result, designing social assistance for urban contexts faces challenges such as accurately targeting the poor (given the spatial geography of urban poverty) and setting appropriate payment levels (given the high and variable costs of urban living). Geographic targeting (e.g. informal settlements), proxy means testing (if urban-sensitive) and categorical targeting (e.g. street children) are popular mechanisms in urban areas, but community-based targeting is often inappropriate (because of urban social fragmentation) while self-targeting can be unethical (e.g. where wages below market rates are paid in public works projects) and might contradict rights-based approaches. These are relevant challenges to address when designing urban social protection programmes. We apply these reflections to Ghana. The country is a relevant case study because it is growing and urbanizing rapidly. But as the result of urbanization, urban poverty and deprivations are rising even though national poverty rates have halved. Anti-poverty policies and social protection interventions remain biased towards the rural poor. The ‘urbanization of poverty’ in Ghana has created problems such as overcrowded housing, limited access to sanitation, and outbreaks of communicable diseases. This paper provides guidance on the critical questions to ask to design in Ghana a successful urban social protection programme with a child lens.


Stephen Devereux; Abdul-Gafaru Abdulai; Jose Cuesta; Jaideep Gupte; Luigi Peter Ragno; Keetie Roelen; Rachel Sabates-Wheeler; Tayllor Spadafora

Best of UNICEF Research 2018


2018     31 Oct 2018
The Best of UNICEF Research initiative celebrates its sixth year. Once again, it showcases a collection of the best research undertaken or supported by UNICEF staff and offices around the world. The ‘Best of UNICEF Research’ exercise has become eagerly anticipated throughout the organization. Staff in country offices particularly welcome the spotlight on work that helps to shape practice, programming and policy for children around the world. As evidence of this engagement, the number of submissions which come from all parts of UNICEF, including National Committees continues to rise, as does the diversity of topics and methods. This year, our highlighted research projects were selected from 104 eligible submissions. All regions were represented, as were most major areas of UNICEF programming. While fields such as health, nutrition, education and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) have generally been strong areas of evidence generation for UNICEF, it is encouraging to see child protection – a relatively underdeveloped field of research – showing prominently in the submitted projects, as well as an increase in cross-sectoral research. 

In the world’s richest countries, some children do worse at school than others because of circumstances beyond their control, such as where they were born, the language they speak or their parents’ occupations. These children enter the education system at a disadvantage and can drop further behind if educational policies and practices reinforce, rather than reduce, the gap between them and their peers. These types of inequality are unjust. Not all children have an equal opportunity to reach their full potential, to pursue their interests and to develop their talents and skills. This has social and economic costs. This report focuses on educational inequalities in 41 of the world’s richest countries, all of which are members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and/or the European Union (EU). Using the most recent data available, it examines inequalities across childhood – from access to preschool to expectations of post-secondary education – and explores in depth the relationships between educational inequality and factors such as parents’ occupations, migration background, the child’s gender and school characteristics. The key feature of the report is the league table, which summarizes the extent of educational inequalities at preschool, primary school and secondary school levels. The indicator of inequality at the preschool level is the percentage of students enrolled in organized learning one year before the official age of primary school entry. The indicator for both primary school (Grade 4, around age 10) and secondary school (age 15) is the gap in reading scores between the lowest- and highest-performing students.


Yekaterina Chzhen; Anna Gromada; Gwyther Rees; Jose Cuesta; Zlata Bruckauf

There is growing recognition among international organizations, scholars and policymakers that education systems must produce equitable outcomes, but there is far less consensus on what this means in practice. This paper analyses differences in inequality of outcome and inequality of opportunity in educational achievement among primary and secondary schoolchildren across 38 countries of the European Union (EU) and/or the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The analysis focuses on reading achievement, drawing on data from the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) and the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). We use several measures to operationalize the two concepts of inequality in education. Our results show that inequality of outcome does not necessarily go hand in hand with inequality of opportunity. These two concepts lead to measures that produce very different country rankings. We argue that information on both inequality of outcome and inequality of opportunity is necessary for a better understanding of equity in children’s education.


Anna Gromada; Gwyther Rees; Yekaterina Chzhen; Jose Cuesta; Zlata Bruckhauf

En los países más ricos del mundo, a algunos niños les va peor en la escuela que a otros debido a circunstancias que escapan a su control, como el lugar donde nacieron, el idioma que hablan o la profesión que ejercen sus progenitores. Estos niños acceden al sistema educativo en situación de desventaja y pueden quedarse aún más rezagados si las políticas y prácticas educativas refuerzan, en lugar de reducir, la brecha entre ellos y sus compañeros. Esos tipos de desigualdad son injustos. No todos los niños tienen las mismas oportunidades de alcanzar su pleno potencial, de perseguir sus intereses y de desarrollar sus talentos y habilidades, acarreando con ello costos sociales y económicos. Este informe se centra en las desigualdades educativas en 41 de los países más ricos del mundo, todos ellos miembros de la Organización de Cooperación y Desarrollo Económicos (OCDE) o de la Unión Europea (UE). A partir de los datos más recientes disponibles, se examinan las desigualdades a lo largo de la infancia —desde el acceso a la educación preescolar hasta las expectativas educativas una vez concluida la enseñanza secundaria— y se analizan en profundidad las relaciones entre la desigualdad educativa y factores como la actividad profesional de los padres, los antecedentes migratorios, el género y las características de las escuelas. La principal particularidad de este informe es la tabla clasificatoria, donde se resume el calado de la desigualdad educativa en la enseñanza preescolar, primaria y secundaria. El indicador de la desigualdad en la educación preescolar es el porcentaje de alumnos matriculados en centros oficiales un año antes de la edad oficial de ingreso en la escuela primaria. Tanto para la escuela primaria (cuarto curso, alrededor de los 10 años) como para la escuela secundaria (15 años), el indicador muestra la diferencia entre las puntuaciones obtenidas en las pruebas de lectura por los estudiantes que obtienen los mejores y los peores resultados.


Yekaterina Chzhen; Gwyther Rees; Anna Gromada; Zlata Bruckauf; Jose Cuesta

Dans les pays les plus riches, certains enfants connaissent plus de difficultés scolaires que d’autres, liées à des circonstances sur lesquelles ils n'ont aucun contrôle, telles que leur lieu de naissance, leur langue ou la profession de leurs parents. Ils sont pénalisés dès leur entrée dans le système scolaire et se retrouvent encore plus marginalisés si les politiques et les pratiques éducatives, au lieu de résorber cet écart avec leurs pairs, le creusent. Ces inégalités constituent une injustice. Tous les enfants n’ont pas les mêmes possibilités de s’épanouir, de développer leurs centres d’intérêt et de cultiver leurs talents et leurs compétences. Ces disparités ont un coût économique et social. Le présent rapport se penche sur les inégalités scolaires dans 41 pays comptant parmi les plus riches du monde, tous membres de l’Organisation de coopération et de développement économiques (OCDE) et/ou de l’Union européenne (UE). En se fondant sur les données disponibles les plus récentes, les auteurs examinent les inégalités aux différents stades de l’enfance – de l’accès à l’éducation préscolaire aux perspectives d’études supérieures – et analysent en détail les relations entre les inégalités scolaires et des facteurs tels que l’activité des parents, le parcours migratoire, le genre de l’enfant et le profil de l’établissement scolaire. Le tableau de classement constitue l’élément central de ce rapport : il résume l’étendue des inégalités dans le domaine de l’éducation aux niveaux préscolaire, élémentaire et secondaire. Au niveau préscolaire, l’inégalité est exprimée par le pourcentage d’élèves participant à des activités organisées d’apprentissage un an avant l'âge officiel de scolarisation. Aux niveaux de l’élémentaire (en quatrième année, vers 10 ans) et du secondaire (15 ans), elle se traduit par l’écart entre le score de lecture le plus élevé et le plus bas.


Yekaterina Chzhen; Gwyther Rees; Anna Gromada; Jose Cuesta; Zlata Bruckauf

Nei paesi più ricchi del mondo, alcuni bambini hanno un rendimento scolastico inferiore ad altri a causa di circostanze al di fuori del loro controllo, come il luogo in cui sono nati, la lingua parlata o l'occupazione dei genitori. Al loro ingresso nel sistema scolastico questi bambini partono da una posizione svantaggiata, che può peggiorare ulteriormente se le politiche e le pratiche educative rafforzano, anziché ridurre, il divario esistente con i coetanei. Questi tipi di disuguaglianze sono ingiusti. Non tutti i bambini hanno pari opportunità per raggiungere appieno il loro potenziale, per perseguire i loro interessi e sviluppare i propri talenti e abilità. Tutto questo ha costi sociali ed economici. Il presente rapporto è dedicato alle disuguaglianze nell'ambito educativo in 41 dei paesi più ricchi del mondo, tutti membri dell'Organizzazione per la cooperazione e lo sviluppo economico (OCSE) e/o dell'Unione europea (UE). Utilizzando i dati più recenti disponibili, prende in esame le disuguaglianze durante tutta l'infanzia e adolescenza, dall'accesso alla scuola materna fino alle aspettative durante l'istruzione secondaria superiore, ed esplora in profondità le relazioni esistenti tra disuguaglianza educativa e fattori come occupazione dei genitori, contesto migratorio, genere del bambino e caratteristiche degli istituti scolastici. L’elemento chiave del rapporto è la classifica riepilogativa, che riassume l'entità delle disuguaglianze educative a livello di scuola dell'infanzia, elementare e secondaria. L'indicatore di disuguaglianza a livello prescolare è la percentuale di bambini iscritti a programmi di apprendimento organizzato un anno prima dell'età ufficiale d'ingresso alla scuola primaria. Per la scuola sia primaria (quarta elementare, 10 anni circa) sia secondaria (15 anni) è invece il divario nei punteggi relativi alla lettura tra gli studenti con il rendimento più basso e quelli con il rendimento più elevato.


Yekaterina Chzhen; Gwyther Rees; Anna Gromada; Jose Cuesta; Zlata Bruckauf

Synthèse trimestrielle présentant les ressources et les nouvelles les plus importantes parues au cours des trois derniers mois dans le domaine de la recherche sur le bien-être des adolescents.