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Research on the impact of economic crisis on child poverty and well-being and policy responses in low income countries

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Negative economic shocks affecting household incomes and public expenditures have the potential to produce long lasting consequences on children's lives. A timely understanding of the social impact of economic crises aids the design of effective policy responses.

The food prices crisis (2007-08) and the global economic crisis (which started in late 2008) had and continue to have important impacts on the living conditions of children in different development and socio-economic contexts. However, statistical evidence and analysis of the social impact of these economic crises is small and often of little use: lack of timely data limits the understanding of the wider social implications of the crisis, and in this scenario there is a risk that children's vulnerability is less visible and therefore receives less attention in setting the policy responses to the crisis.

Developing economic models to simulate the impact of these economic shocks on children and the effect of alternative policy responses can provide useful indications to policy makers in the absence of real time data.

In 2008, responding to a request of, and in collaboration with the UNICEF Regional Office for Western and Central Africa, the UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre (IRC) developed a micro-economic model to simulate the potential consequences of the increase in food prices on child poverty and on other indicators of child well-being, as well those of alternative policy responses. The micro-economic model was applied to the specific case of Mali, and both methodology and applied research have been released in the Innocenti Working Paper series.

The current research project, started in March 2009, builds on the experience of the research on the food crisis in Mali. The objective is to develop a combined macro and micro economic model to simulate the impact of economic shocks (i.e. the global economic crisis) on the living conditions of children in individual developing countries. The first phase of the study focused on three countries of Western and Central Africa (Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Ghana) and simulated, under different scenarios, the impact of the global economic crisis (2009) on child monetary poverty, hunger, school enrolment, child labour and use of health facilities for the period 2009-11. Different policy responses (e.g. cash transfers, food subsidies etc.) have been simulated and compared.

The methodology combining macro and micro analysis models, a regional report for Western and Central Africa and three country studies were released in the second quarter of 2010. Research is planned to adapt the simulation model to other country contexts and to expand the model to consider different policy response options (for example including in the simulation budget policies and fiscal space). It is envisaged that this research will be complemented by a study on understanding the determinants of infant and child mortality.

The research on the impact of economic crises on children in Western and Central Africa has been developed with the collaboration between the UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, the UNICEF Regional Office for Western and Central Africa and the UNICEF Division for Policy and Practice. The methodology for the study has been developed by an international team of researchers at the UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, the Consortium pour la Recherche Economique et Sociale (CRES) in Dakar and Laval University. This group also developed the regional report for Western and Central Africa. The application of the simulation models to individual country data is carried out by national research teams, with the support of the respective UNICEF country offices.

Negative economic shocks affecting household incomes and public expenditures have the potential to produce long lasting consequences on children's lives. A timely understanding of the social impact of economic crises aids the design of effective policy responses.

The food prices crisis (2007-08) and the global economic crisis (which started in late 2008) had and continue to have important impacts on the living conditions of children in different development and socio-economic contexts. However, statistical evidence and analysis of the social impact of these economic crises is small and often of little use: lack of timely data limits the understanding of the wider social implications of the crisis, and in this scenario there is a risk that children's vulnerability is less visible and therefore receives less attention in setting the policy responses to the crisis.

Developing economic models to simulate the impact of these economic shocks on children and the effect of alternative policy responses can provide useful indications to policy makers in the absence of real time data.

In 2008, responding to a request of, and in collaboration with the UNICEF Regional Office for Western and Central Africa, the UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre (IRC) developed a micro-economic model to simulate the potential consequences of the increase in food prices on child poverty and on other indicators of child well-being, as well those of alternative policy responses. The micro-economic model was applied to the specific case of Mali, and both methodology and applied research have been released in the Innocenti Working Paper series.

The current research project, started in March 2009, builds on the experience of the research on the food crisis in Mali. The objective is to develop a combined macro and micro economic model to simulate the impact of economic shocks (i.e. the global economic crisis) on the living conditions of children in individual developing countries. The first phase of the study focused on three countries of Western and Central Africa (Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Ghana) and simulated, under different scenarios, the impact of the global economic crisis (2009) on child monetary poverty, hunger, school enrolment, child labour and use of health facilities for the period 2009-11. Different policy responses (e.g. cash transfers, food subsidies etc.) have been simulated and compared.

The methodology combining macro and micro analysis models, a regional report for Western and Central Africa and three country studies were released in the second quarter of 2010. Research is planned to adapt the simulation model to other country contexts and to expand the model to consider different policy response options (for example including in the simulation budget policies and fiscal space). It is envisaged that this research will be complemented by a study on understanding the determinants of infant and child mortality.

The research on the impact of economic crises on children in Western and Central Africa has been developed with the collaboration between the UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, the UNICEF Regional Office for Western and Central Africa and the UNICEF Division for Policy and Practice. The methodology for the study has been developed by an international team of researchers at the UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, the Consortium pour la Recherche Economique et Sociale (CRES) in Dakar and Laval University. This group also developed the regional report for Western and Central Africa. The application of the simulation models to individual country data is carried out by national research teams, with the support of the respective UNICEF country offices.

LATEST PUBLICATIONS

This brief documents the impact evaluation design of the Ghana Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty (LEAP) 1000 programme which is being piloted in ten districts in two regions and targets about 6,000 households initially.

AUTHOR(S)

Richard de Groot
This methodological brief focuses on the qualitative component of the evaluation of the Ghana Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty (LEAP) 1000. Quantitative measures will indicate if LEAP 1000 reduces child poverty, stunting and other measures of well-being, while qualitative research explores in more depth the reasons why and how this may or may not be happening.

AUTHOR(S)

Michelle Mills; Clare Barrington
This paper outlines the methodology of a UNICEF research project on the impact of the global economic crisis on children in Western and Central Africa, which can also be applied to study the effects of other socio-economic shocks on households and particularly on children in developing countries.

AUTHOR(S)

Sami Bibi; John Cockburn; Ismaël Fofana; Luca Tiberti
This study aims to evaluate the potential impacts of the 2008/09 global economic crisis on child poverty in Cameroon. It also explores the potential effects that policy responses to such a crisis could have on children. In order to do this, the study uses a macro-micro methodology. A dynamic computable general equilibrium (CGE) model is used to simulate various scenarios of the economic crisis together with policies which respond to the crisis, taking into account the different transmission channels of the global crisis to the Cameroonian economy.

AUTHOR(S)

Sami Bibi; John Cockburn; Ismaël Fofana; Luca Tiberti; Paul Ningaye; Christian Arnault Emini
Like many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Ghana is experiencing the impact of the global crisis and the uncertain economic outlook. Indeed, as Ghana’s economy is among the most open in Africa, it is expected that the country has been and will continue to be severely affected by the crisis, although strong export prices of its main exports (gold and cocoa) may at least partially counteract the effects associated with the crisis.

AUTHOR(S)

Ismaël Fofana; John Cockburn; Luca Tiberti; Edgar A. Cooke; Daniel K. Twerefou; Theodore Antwi-Asare
Le Burkina Faso à vu ses gains économiques, durement acquis ces dernières années, rongés par la crise financière et économique mondiale du 2008-09. Il subit particulièrement les conséquences de la crise économie mondiale vu le lien étroit qu'il entretient avec l’économie globale. La plupart des effets néfastes sont d’abord transmis aux ménages, puis répercutés aux enfants. Ainsi, la situation des enfants dépend principalement du bien-être monétaire et non monétaire de leurs ménages. Par conséquent et étant donné leur plus grande vulnérabilité, les enfants risquent de souffrir davantage et plus longtemps des impacts de la crise.

AUTHOR(S)

Luca Tiberti; Ismaël Fofana; John Cockburn; Lacina Balma; Samuel Kaboré
The current global financial and economic crisis, which exacerbates the impacts of the energy and food crises that immediately preceded it, has spread to the developing countries endangering recent gains in terms of economic growth and poverty reduction. The effects of the crisis are likely to vary substantially between countries and between individuals within the same country. Children are among the most vulnerable population, particularly in a period of crisis.

AUTHOR(S)

Luca Tiberti; John Cockburn; Ismaël Fofana
Depuis 2006, le Mali subit de plein fouet les effets de la crise alimentaire mondiale avec des augmentations de prix allant jusqu'à 67%. Cette étude propose des simulations des impacts de cette crise et de diverses politiques de réponse sur le bien-être des enfants. Les impacts analysés se situent au niveau de la pauvreté monétaire (alimentaire), la nutrition, l'éducation, le travail et l'accès aux services de santé des enfants. La politique de cantines scolaires se révèle particulièrement efficace du fait qu'elle concentre tous les fonds publics consentis exclusivement sur la consommation alimentaire hautement nutritive, alors que des transferts en espèces aux ménages peuvent servir à diverses fins. De plus, il est probable qu'elle ait des impacts souhaitables sur la scolarisation et le travail des enfants.

AUTHOR(S)

Sami Bibi; Massa Coulibaly; John Cockburn; Luca Tiberti
This paper examines the impact of the Asian crisis on children in Indonesia. School attendance dropped slightly after the onset of the crisis but has since rebounded to higher than pre-crisis levels. Fewer children are now working, although the older children who are working and are not attending school seem to be working longer hours.

AUTHOR(S)

Lisa A. Cameron
Most of the countries caught up in the Asian financial crisis appear to have weathered the storm. But Indonesia's prospects are far more uncertain. The financial turbulence of the Krisis Moneter, or Krismon, set off a dramatic social and political chain reaction, with effects on children that could reverberate for years to come.

AUTHOR(S)

Peter Stalker
This title focuses on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as it relates to children's basic economic and social rights in developing countries in terms of the obligations placed by the Convention on both States and the international community.

AUTHOR(S)

James R. Himes
This title focuses on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as it relates to children's basic economic and social rights in developing countries in terms of the obligations placed by the Convention on both States and the international community.

AUTHOR(S)

James R. Himes

CO-AUTHOR(S)

Diana Saltarelli
This Innocenti Occasional Paper examines the social and economic dynamics of poverty in Latin America from the late 1970s onward. The author’s analysis shows clearly the forces at work behind the observed changes in the nature and extent of poverty in the region.

AUTHOR(S)

Giovanni Andrea Cornia
This paper first examines the use of human, economic and organizational resources in producing social outputs, in terms of the two main forms that resources take: 'stocks' and 'flows'. Based on this framework, several key measures are identified for increasing the availability of resources for the implementation of child rights, including changes in technologies and processes, and the expanded use of 'non-traditional' resources for children.

AUTHOR(S)

David Parker
The 1980s witnessed a number of important shifts in fiscal policy in both the developed and the developing world. This paper examines the Asian experience of this process of change - identifying key reforms and assessing their effectiveness. Particular emphasis is placed throughout upon the equity implications of the various tax systems.

AUTHOR(S)

Andrea Manuelli
This paper focuses on the equity aspects of tax systems in Latin America. Aftrer reviewing quantative characteristics regarding the level and composition of tax structures, the paper analyses recent country experiences of tax reforms and attempts to show how the design of instruments has coped with distributional issues in taxation.

AUTHOR(S)

Oscar Cetrángolo; Ricardo Carciofi
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