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Innocenti Working Papers

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UNICEF Innocenti's complete catalogue of research and reports

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Child-centred Approach to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in High-income Countries: Conceptual issues and monitoring approaches
Child-centred Approach to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in High-income Countries: Conceptual issues and monitoring approaches
Published: 2017 Innocenti Working Papers

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was agreed upon globally through a long political process. By ratifying its Declaration, high-income countries became accountable participants in the development process while retaining their obligations as donors. Although few of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are explicitly child-focused, children are mentioned in many of the 167 targets. Drawing on a well recognized socio-ecological model (SEM) of child development and a life course perspective, this paper proposes an analytical framework to help navigate through the SDG targets based on their relevance to child well-being. The application of this framework in thinking through policy options illustrates the interdependence of SDGs and their targets within a sector (vertically) and across the 17 Goals (horizontally). A five-step process for choosing measurable SDG indicators links the proposed analytical framework with the challenges of SDG monitoring. The paper contributes to debates on the implications of the SDGs for children by facilitating their adaptation to the national context through a ‘child lens’. The proposed analytical approach helps to articulate a context-specific theory of change with a focus on human development outcomes, so that public investments inspired by the SDGs bring tangible results for children.

Comparing Child-focused SDGs in High-income Countries: Indicator development and overview
Comparing Child-focused SDGs in High-income Countries: Indicator development and overview
Published: 2017 Innocenti Working Papers
The new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development aim to build on the achievements made under the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by broadening their scope and building upon a consultative process. The MDGs contributed to substantial social progress in eight key areas: poverty; education; gender equality; child mortality; maternal health; disease; the environment; and global partnership. The SDGs not only include a greater number of development goals than the MDGs, but are also global in focus, including advanced economies for the first time. This paper draws attention to the main challenges the 2030 Agenda presents for rich countries, by highlighting a set of critical child specific indicators, evaluating countries’ progress towards meeting the Goals, and highlighting gaps in existing data. The paper will inform UNICEFs Report Card 14, Building the Future: Children and the Sustainable Development Goals in Rich Countries.
Myth-busting? Confronting Six Common Perceptions about Unconditional Cash Transfers as a Poverty Reduction Strategy in Africa
Myth-busting? Confronting Six Common Perceptions about Unconditional Cash Transfers as a Poverty Reduction Strategy in Africa
Published: 2017 Innocenti Working Papers

 

In this paper we summarize evidence on six perceptions associated with cash transfer programming, using eight rigorous evaluations conducted on large-scale government unconditional cash transfers in sub-Saharan Africa, under the Transfer Project. Specifically, we investigate if transfers: 1) induce higher spending on alcohol or tobacco; 2) are fully consumed (rather than invested); 3) create dependency (reduce participation in productive activities); 4) increase fertility; 5) lead to negative community-level economic impacts (including price distortion and inflation), and 6) are fiscally unsustainable. We present evidence refuting each claim, leading to the conclusion that these perceptions – insofar as they are utilized in policy debates – undercut potential improvements in well-being and livelihood strengthening among the poor, which these programmes can bring about in sub-Saharan Africa, and globally. We conclude by underscoring outstanding research gaps and policy implications for the continued expansion of unconditional cash transfers in the region and beyond.

 

Cite this publication | No. of pages: 40 | Thematic area: Social Policies | Tags: africa, cash transfers, social safety nets
Child Malnutrition, Consumption Growth, Maternal Care and Price Shocks: New Evidence from Northern Ghana
Child Malnutrition, Consumption Growth, Maternal Care and Price Shocks: New Evidence from Northern Ghana
Published: 2017 Innocenti Working Papers

Childhood malnutrition remains a significant global health concern. In order to implement effective policies to address the issue, it is crucial to first understand the mechanisms underlying malnutrition. This paper uses a unique dataset from Northern Ghana to explain the underlying causes of childhood malnutrition. It adopts an empirical framework to model inputs in the production of health and nutrition, as a function of child, household and community characteristics. The findings suggest that child characteristics are important in explaining inputs and nutritional outcomes, and that maternal agency and health contribute to improved health status. Household resources in the form of consumption are positively associated with food intake and nutritional outcomes. Simulations show that income growth, improving maternal care and avoiding sudden price shocks have a positive but rather limited effect on the reduction of malnutrition. Effects are greater in children under two. Hence, policies that address underlying determinants simultaneously, and target the youngest population of children, could have the largest effect on reducing malnutrition in this population.

Gobernanza y coordinación de las políticas: el caso del registro del nacimiento en el Perú
Gobernanza y coordinación de las políticas: el caso del registro del nacimiento en el Perú
Published: 2017 Innocenti Working Papers

Esta investigación, el segundo de dos estudios de caso, explora la coordinación desde el punto de vista del registro civil y las estadísticas vitales, con especial referencia al registro de los nacimientos en el Perú. Se centra en el papel que puede desempeñar la coordinación para lograr que el registro del nacimiento funcione con eficacia. Aunque la cuestión principal de la que se ocupa este trabajo es la capacidad de las administraciones para prestar el servicio de registro del nacimiento, también se examina la importancia que reside en la comprensión de la coordinación para la mejora de los servicios públicos, especialmente los dirigidos a los niños.

Comparing Approaches to the Measurement of Multidimensional Child Poverty
Comparing Approaches to the Measurement of Multidimensional Child Poverty
Published: 2016 Innocenti Working Papers

The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 1.2 implies that both monetary and non-monetary or multidimensional (MD) child poverty would be measured and monitored, and that the associated indicators would be defined nationally. However, very few countries routinely measure child MD poverty. This paper seeks to provide some guidance on the topic by presenting and comparing two approaches which are now some of the most widely used. The first approach is the Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis (MODA) which was developed by UNICEF. MODA is a child specific MD poverty measure rooted in the rights-based framework of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The second measure we present and compare is the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) developed by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative which has computed the MPI for over 100 countries using a universal global standard. We compare the global version of the measures, applying them to four countries: Cambodia, Ghana, Mali, Mongolia. The two approaches, while sharing many similarities, do not lead to the same results. In deciding on their individual strategy to measure and track SDG Target 1.2, countries will need to reflect on both the underlying purpose of the target, and to evaluate the inevitable trade-offs between the two approaches.

Towards Inclusive Education: The impact of disability on school attendance in developing countries
Towards Inclusive Education: The impact of disability on school attendance in developing countries
Published: 2016 Innocenti Working Papers
The paper aims to reduce the global knowledge gap pertaining to the impact of disability on school attendance, using cross-nationally comparable and nationally representative data from 18 surveys in 15 countries that are selected among 2,500 surveys and censuses. These selected surveys administered the Washington Group Short Set (WGSS) of disability-screening questions, covering five functional domains of seeing, hearing, mobility, self-care, and remembering, and collected information on educational status. The paper finds that (i) the average disability gap in school attendance stands at 30% in primary and secondary schools in 15 countries; (ii) more than 85% of disabled primary-age children who are out of school have never attended school; (iii) the average marginal effect of disability on primary and secondary school attendance is negative and significant (-30%), and (iv) countries that have reached close to universal primary education report high ratios of disabled to non-disabled out-of-school children and (v) disabled children confront the same difficulties in participating in education, regardless of their individual and socio-economic characteristics.
Cash for Women’s Empowerment? A Mixed-Methods Evaluation of the Government of Zambia’s Child Grant Programme
Cash for Women’s Empowerment? A Mixed-Methods Evaluation of the Government of Zambia’s Child Grant Programme
Published: 2016 Innocenti Working Papers

This paper reports findings from a mixed-methods evaluation of the Government of Zambia’s Child Grant Programme, a poverty-targeted, unconditional transfer given to mothers or primary caregivers of young children aged 0 to 5. Qualitatively, we found that changes in intrahousehold relationships were limited by entrenched gender norms, which indicate men as heads of household and primary decision-makers. However, women’s narratives showed the transfer did increase overall household well-being because they felt increased financial empowerment and were able to retain control over transfers for household investment and savings for emergencies. The study found that women in beneficiary households were making more sole and joint decisions, although impacts translated into relatively modest increases.

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
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.

Making Money Work: Unconditional cash transfers allow women to save and re-invest in rural Zambia
Making Money Work: Unconditional cash transfers allow women to save and re-invest in rural Zambia
Published: 2016 Innocenti Working Papers

Savings play a crucial role in faciliating investment in income-generating activities and the pathway out of poverty for low-income households in developing settings. Yet, there is little evidence of successful programmes that increase savings, particularly those that are simultaneously cost effective, scaleable and  address gender inequalities. This paper examines the impact of the Government of Zambia’s Child Grant Programme (CGP), an unconditional cash transfer targeted to women in households with young children, on women’s savings and participation in non-farm enterprises.

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.

Why Income Inequalities Matter for Young People’s Health: A look at the evidence
Why Income Inequalities Matter for Young People’s Health: A look at the evidence
Published: 2016 Innocenti Working Papers

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. Nonetheless, the academic literature has been able to establish a clear negative relationship between a person’s material circumstances and their health outcomes and behaviours such as being overweight, lack of physical activity, higher levels of smoking and mental health problems, all of which persist throughout a person’s life. The personal and societal toll of these effects is clear, yet policies are still lagging behind, tackling proximal causes rather than ‘the causes of the causes’ of these health inequalities. This paper aims to summarise relevant knowledge on the socio-economic causes of health inequalities in children. It will not only provide a foundation to the Innocenti Report Card 13 in terms of outlining our knowledge regarding the drivers of health inequality but it will also help us shed light on its consequences.

Cite this publication | No. of pages: 24 | Thematic area: Adolescents, Health | Tags: adolescent health, income, inequality
Inequalities in Adolescent Health and Life Satisfaction: Evidence from the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study
Inequalities in Adolescent Health and Life Satisfaction: Evidence from the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study
Published: 2016 Innocenti Working Papers

International studies of inequalities in adolescent health tend to focus on the socio-economic gradient in average outcomes rather than their dispersion within countries. Although understanding the extent to which differences in health are related to socio-economic disadvantage is important, focusing exclusively on socio-economic status risks neglecting differences in the distribution of health outcomes within and between countries. To fill this research gap, 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.

49 - 60 of 246