Child Poverty and Changes in Child Poverty in Rich Countries since 1990

Child Poverty and Changes in Child Poverty in Rich Countries since 1990

AUTHOR(S)
Miles Corak; Wen-Hao Chen

Published: 2005 Innocenti Working Papers
This paper documents levels and changes in child poverty rates in 12 OECD countries using data from the Luxembourg Income Study project, and focusing upon an analysis of the reasons for changes over the 1990s. The objective is to uncover the relative role of income transfers from the state in determining the magnitude and direction of change in child poverty rates, holding other demographic and labour market factors constant. As such the paper offers a cross-country overview of child poverty, changes in child poverty and the impact of public policy in North America and Europe. The paper offers a set of country specific results, and also attempts to draw general lessons. First, family and demographic forces play only a limited role in determining changes in child poverty rates. These forces change only gradually and are limited in their ability to cushion children from detrimental shocks originating in the labour market or in the government sector, which are the sources of the major forces determining the direction of change in child poverty. Second, in countries facing severe economic crises it does not appear that the amount of social transfers available were increased in a way to cushion children from these changes and put a backstop on their risk of low income. Third, there is no single road to lower child poverty rates. Changes in income transfers need to be thought through in conjunction with the nature of labour markets.
A Portrait of Child Poverty in Germany

A Portrait of Child Poverty in Germany

AUTHOR(S)
Miles Corak; Michael Fertig; Marcus Tamm

Published: 2005 Innocenti Working Papers
This paper offers a descriptive portrait of income poverty among children in Germany between the early 1980s and 2001, with a focus on developments since unification in 1991. Data from the German Socio-Economic Panel are used to estimate poverty rates, rates of entry to and exit from poverty, and the duration of time spent in and out of poverty. The analysis focuses upon comparisons between East and West Germany, by family structure, and citizenship status. Child poverty rates have drifted upward since 1991, and have been increasing more than the rates for the overall population since the mid-1990s. In part these changes are due to increasing poverty among children from households headed by non-citizens. Children in single parent households are by all measures at considerable risk of living in poverty. There are also substantial differences in the incidence of child poverty and its dynamics between East and West Germany.
The Impact of Tax and  Transfer Systems on Children in the European Union

The Impact of Tax and Transfer Systems on Children in the European Union

AUTHOR(S)
Miles Corak; Christine Lietz; Holly Sutherland

Published: 2005 Innocenti Working Papers
The objective of this paper is to analyse the impact of fiscal policy on the economic resources available to children, and on the child poverty rate. A static microsimulation model specifically designed for the purposes of comparative fiscal analysis in the European Union, EUROMOD, is used to study the age incidence of government taxes and transfers in 2001 in 15 EU countries. Three related questions are addressed. First, what priorities are currently embodied in government budgets across age groups, and in particular to what degree do cash transfer and tax systems benefit children relative to older groups?; what fraction of the needs of children are supported by elements of the tax and transfer systems directed explicitly to them?; what impact do measures of public resources for children have on child poverty rates?
Integration and the Well-being of Children in the Transition Economies

Integration and the Well-being of Children in the Transition Economies

AUTHOR(S)
Fabian Bornhorst; Simon Commander

Published: 2005 Innocenti Working Papers
This paper looks at the well-being of children in transition economies in the light of greater economic integration. The different stages of integration of the transition economies into the world economy are marked by substantial variations in trade and capital flows. International labour mobility remains limited, and unemployment has been high since the beginning of transition. Because employment is the main determinant of household income, this has had a negative effect on the well-being of children. At the national level, a high degree of variation in regional unemployment rates has emerged which is symptomatic of the lack of integration of labour markets. High regional unemployment rates are further associated with increases in non-participation, while adjustments via wages and migration have been largely absent, or insufficient. Indicators of child well-being – such as infant mortality rates – are positively correlated with unemployment rates, suggesting that public service provision is, in general, not sufficient to offset the negative effect of unemployment on child well-being. A closer look at unemployment benefit schemes reveals not only large differences between countries but also scope for broader coverage and better targeting of programmes in order to reduce the risk of families falling into poverty when parents become unemployed.
Children of International Migrants in Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines: A review of evidence and policies

Children of International Migrants in Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines: A review of evidence and policies

AUTHOR(S)
John Bryant

Published: 2005 Innocenti Working Papers
This paper considers three groups of children affected by international migration: (i) children left behind by international labour migrants from the Philippines, Indonesia, and Thailand; (ii) children of Thai nationals in Japan; and (iii) children brought along by irregular migrants in Malaysia and Thailand. Based on the limited data available from published sources, the paper constructs preliminary estimates of numbers of children involved. It then synthesizes available evidence on problems and opportunities faced by the children, and on policies towards them. There are, however, important gaps in the available evidence. The paper identifies these gaps and suggests ways in which they might be filled.
How High is Infant Mortality in Central and Eastern Europe and the CIS?

How High is Infant Mortality in Central and Eastern Europe and the CIS?

AUTHOR(S)
Gerry Redmond; Nadezhda Aleshina

Published: 2003 Innocenti Working Papers
There are worrying indications that official infant mortality counts, based on administrative data, may underestimate the true gravity of the problem in 15 countires in the CEE / CIS region, including 11 out of 12 CIS countries. However, the paper also finds that surveys are rather blunt instruments, and that the confidence intervals that surround estimates from these surveys are often large.
Child Poverty in English-Speaking Countries

Child Poverty in English-Speaking Countries

AUTHOR(S)
John Micklewright

Published: 2003 Innocenti Working Papers
The paper considers child poverty in rich English-speaking countries - the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the U.K. and Ireland. It is sometimes assumed that these countries stand out from other OECD countries for their levels of child poverty. The paper looks at the policies they have adopted to address the problem. 'Poverty' is interpreted broadly and hence the available cross-national evidence on edicational disadvantage and teenage births is considered alongside that on low household income. Discussion of policy initiatives ranges across a number of areas of government activity.
The Subterranean Child Labour Force: Subcontracted home-based manufacturing in Asia

The Subterranean Child Labour Force: Subcontracted home-based manufacturing in Asia

AUTHOR(S)
Santosh Mehrotra; Mario Biggeri

Published: 2002 Innocenti Working Papers
Child labour is widespread in home based manufacturing activities in the informal sector in most developing countries. This form of child labour will not attract the penal provisions of a country’s laws banning child labour. This paper draws on surveys carried out in five Asian countries – two low-income (India, Pakistan) and three middle-income countries (Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand) – where production of manufactured goods is subcontracted to home based workers widely. It examines the incidence of child work in such households, the child’s schooling, reasons why children are working, their work conditions, their health, and gender issues.
Social Protection in the Informal Economy: Home based women workers and outsourced manufacturing in Asia

Social Protection in the Informal Economy: Home based women workers and outsourced manufacturing in Asia

AUTHOR(S)
Santosh Mehrotra; Mario Biggeri

Published: 2002 Innocenti Working Papers
Home based work has a dual and contradictory character: on the one hand, as a source of income diversification for poor workers and the emergence of micro-enterprises, yet on the other, it is a source of exploitation of vulnerable workers as firms attempt to contain costs. This paper examines the social protection needs of women workers in this sector, and also argues for public action to promote such work as a possible new labour intensive growth strategy in these and other developing countries.
Poverty in the Transition: Social expenditures and the working-age poor

Poverty in the Transition: Social expenditures and the working-age poor

AUTHOR(S)
Jeni Klugman; John Micklewright; Gerry Redmond

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

AUTHOR(S)
Alison J. Blaiklock; Cynthia A. Kiro; Michael Belgrave; Will Low; Eileen Davenport; Ian B. Hassall

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.
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