The Working Papers are the foundation of the Centre's research output, underpinning many of the Centre's other publications. These high quality research papers are aimed at an academic and well-informed audience, contributing to ongoing discussion on a wide range of child-related issues. More than 100 Working Papers have been published to date, with recent and forthcoming papers covering the full range of the Centre's agenda. The Working Papers series incorporates the earlier series of Innocenti Occasional Papers (with sub-series), also available for download.
Can Unconditional Cash Transfers Lead to Sustainable Poverty Reduction? Evidence from two government-led programmes in Zambia
Handa, Sudhanshu; Natali, Luisa; Seidenfeld, David; Tembo, Gelson; Davis, Benjamin (2016). Can Unconditional Cash Transfers Lead to Sustainable Poverty Reduction? Evidence from two government-led programmes in Zambia, no. IWP_2016_21, UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti, Florence
In sub-Saharan Africa, the poorest region in the world, the number of cash transfer programmes has doubled in the last five years and reaches close to 50 million people. What is the impact of these programmes, and do they offer a sustained pathway out of ultra-poverty? In this paper we examine these questions using experimental data from two unconditional cash transfer programmes implemented by the Government of Zambia. We find far-reaching effects of these two programmes, not just on their primary objective, food security and consumption, but also on a range of productive and economic outcomes. After three years, we observe that household spending is 59 per cent larger than the value of the transfer received, implying a sizeable multiplier effect. These multipliers work through increased non-farm business activity and agricultural production.
A large body of literature has established socio-economic gradients in adolescent health, but few studies have investigated the extent to which these gradients are associated with very poor health outcomes. The current analysis examined the extent to which the socio-economic background of adolescents relates to very poor self-reported health and well-being (the so-called ’bottom end’).
Yekaterina Chzhen; Irene Moor; William Pickett; Emilia Toczydlowska; Gonneke Stevens
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.
This study analyses variation in the extent of inequality in the lower half of the distribution in five indicators of adolescent health and well-being – health symptoms, physical activity, healthy eating, unhealthy eating, and life satisfaction – across EU and/or OECD countries that took part in the latest cycle of the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study.
Existing evidence is inconclusive on whether a socio-economic gradient in children’s cognitive ability widens, narrows or remains stable over time and there is little research on the extent of ‘cognitive mobility’ of children who had a poor start in life compared to their peers. Using data from five sweeps of the United Kingdom (UK) Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) at the ages of 9 months, 3 years, 5 years, 7 years and 11 years, this paper explores the cognitive ability trajectory of children in the bottom decile of the distribution at a given age.
Although child and adolescent inequalities are still less understood than those of adults, we have made progress in understanding the pathways that lead to negative outcomes and the limitations of some ‘adult-specific’ indicators as proxies of young people’s health and well-being. This paper aims to summarise relevant knowledge on the socio-economic causes of health inequalities in children.
The paper investigates the assumption that giving cash as part of social safety nets targeted to women will lead to their empowerment. There is a perception that both conditional and unconditional cash transfers will lead to changes in intra-household power dynamics, but the evidence to support this to date is mixed. This evaluation of Zambia’s Child Grant Programme uses mixed methods to examine the four-year impact on women’s household decision-making, empowerment and overall household dynamics.
Juan Bonilla; Rosa Castro Zarzur; Sudhanshu Handa; Claire Nowlin; Amber Peterman; Hannah Ring; David Seidenfeld
Findings show that the CGP enabled poor women to save more cash and that the impact is larger for women who had lower decision-making power at baseline. The results support the proposition that cash transfers have the potential for long-term sustainable improvements in women’s financial position and household well-being by promoting savings and facilitating productive investments among low-income rural households.
Luisa Natali; Sudhanshu Handa; Amber Peterman; David Seidenfeld; Gelson Tembo
Social inequalities in children’s health and well-being relate to their socioeconomic position (SEP) in society. A large body of empirical evidence shows that growing up in economically disadvantaged conditions worsens health, limits academic achievement, and shortens lifespans. This paper examines lagged and contemporaneous associations between national income inequality and health and well-being during adolescence.
The paper uses data from a quasi-experimental evaluation to estimate the impact of the Ghanaian
Government’s unconditional cash transfer programme on schooling outcomes. It analyses the impacts
for children by various subgroups – age, gender, cognitive ability – and finds consistent impacts. There are
differences across gender, especially on secondary schooling, with enrolment significantly higher for boys
13 years or older. For girls, the effect of the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme
is to improve current attendance among those who are already enrolled in school (across all age groups).
The authors found a significant effect on the expenditure on schooling items such as uniforms and
stationary for these groups, which helps to explain the pathway of impact because these out-of-pocket costs
are typically important barriers to schooling in rural Ghana and most of Africa.
Richard de Groot; Sudhanshu Handa; Mike Park; Robert D. Osei; Isaac Osei-Akoto; Luigi Peter Ragno; Garima Bhalla
Among policymakers, a common perception surrounding the effects of cash transfer programmes, particularly unconditional programmes targeted to families with children, is that they will induce increased fertility. Yet results from an evaluation of the Zambian Child Grant Programme indicate there are no programme impacts on overall fertility. In addition, among young women under 25 years and among women who have access to family planning, fertility actually decreased and use of modern contraceptives increased.
Tia Palermo; Sudhanshu Handa; Amber Peterman; Leah Prencipe; David Seidenfeld