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.
Children and the Data Cycle:Rights and Ethics in a Big Data World
Berman, Gabrielle; Albright, Kerry (2017). Children and the Data Cycle:Rights and Ethics in a Big Data World, no. 2017-05, UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti, Florence
In an era of increasing dependence on data science and big data, the voices of one set of major stakeholders – the world’s children and those who advocate on their behalf – have been largely absent. A
recent paper estimates one in three global internet users is a child, yet there has been little rigorous debate or understanding of how to adapt traditional, offline ethical standards for research involving data collection from children, to a big data, online environment (Livingstone et al., 2015). This paper argues that due to the potential for severe, long-lasting and differential impacts on children, child rights need to be firmly integrated onto the agendas of global debates about ethics and data science. The authors outline their rationale for a greater focus on child rights and ethics in data science and suggest steps to move forward, focusing on the various actors within the data chain including data generators, collectors, analysts and end-users. It concludes by calling for a much stronger appreciation of the links between child rights, ethics and data science disciplines and for enhanced discourse between stakeholders in the data chain, and those responsible for upholding the rights of children, globally.
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.
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.
An effective global monitoring system for child food insecurity is needed to increase awareness about the nature, extent, and distribution of child food insecurity, both within and across countries and regions, and over time. The effectiveness of a global monitoring system rests on two components: measurement of child food insecurity that reliably and accurately captures the phenomenon, and a vehicle for delivering that measurement to samples that support reliable and accurate inference to the populations of interest.
Maryah S. Fram; Jennifer Bernal; Edward A. Frongillo
This paper aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the impacts of cash transfer programmes on the immediate and underlying determinants of child nutrition, including the most recent evidence from impact evaluations across sub-Saharan Africa. The paper finds that the evidence to date on the immediate determinants of child nutrition is mixed with respect to whether cash transfers can positively impact growth-related outcomes among children, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.
Inconsistent and unpredictable flow of cash transfers can impact the results of the LEAP programme and its evaluation. The programme did not lead to an increase in consumption, but household debt was reduced and loans repayment improved. Informal social networks gained in strength and reinforced social cohesion and protection helping to reduce risks at the local level.
Silvio Daidone; Sudhanshu Handa; Benjamin Davis; Mike Park; Robert D. Osei; Isaac Osei-Akoto