Children’s capabilities in time of crisis

Biggeri, Mario; Roche, Jose Manuel; Addabbo, Tindara; Maccagnan, Anna; Di Tommaso, Maria Laura; Aurino, Elisabetta; Burchi, Francesco; Peruzzi, Agnese; Arciprete, Caterina (2014). 'Children's capabilities in time of crisis' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, 2-5 September 2014, Athens, Greece.

Structural dynamics in children capabilities deprivation: the case of Andre Pradesh by Biggeri, Peruzzi, Arciprete

Evidences show that children at higher risk of poverty are children belonging to minority groups, indigenous communities, or lower castes, children with disabilities, migrant children, street children. Accordingly, one of the core principles for the post-2015 MDG framework is the 'leave no-one behind' principle. This principle calls for a deeper understanding of the complex reality faced by those children who are trapped into chronic poverty.  Although the capability approach is increasingly been adopted to understand children's deprivations there are few empirical studies which, limited to the European context, investigate how multiple deprivations accumulate over the life course determining the level of opportunities in the short and long term. The aim of this paper is to contribute to this debate by understanding why some children are left behind . By adopting the CA as an evaluative framework, we suggest that children belonging to minority groups are systematically and severely disadvantaged in a number of dimensions because they have limited commodities coupled with limited conversion factors. This makes their situation particularly deleterious as well as  difficult to improve in the absence of both redistributive and recognition policies . We use data from Young Lives related to Andre Pradesh to conceptualize severe and multidimensional deprivations in terms of social exclusion  operationalized as latent variable. The methodology combine mediation analysis with moderation analysis by using SEM. This methodology allows for operationalizing the dynamic and multidimensional nature of poverty.


Global Trends Impacting Child Rights and Wellbeing: Background Situation Analysis for Save the Children? next Global Campaign By  Roche

This paper reviews the key global  trends likely to impact on children in the next decade. The paper distinguishes three main areas and related trends: 1) Global economic, social and environmental trends which will have a direct impact on child right and wellbeing, including climate change, demographic transition, economic and power shifts, changes in the geography and nature of poverty, persistent & increasing inequalities, new technologies, changing in values, norms, and mentalities; 2) Contextual changes affecting INGOs  which are not directly affecting child rights and wellbeing but affect Save The Children, including changing global infrastructure of aid & new donor landscape,  diffusion of power to networks and coalition; 3) Uncertainties & risks as we understand that change is less predictable and linear than we often want to accept, including economic volatility, fragile economic recovery, environmental degradation and resource scarcity, risk of conflicts, frequency of natural disasters, increase in non-communicable diseases.We followed advice received during the interview process to read the trends from a Save the Children's lens. Therefore, we do not aim to be neutral in the analysis but rather rooting it in the core values STC stands up for. The general advice was to avoid a futuristic vision, yet evade nostalgia for the past. Finally, we aim to combine a conscious understanding of the risks ahead but equally identifying the opportunities for positive transformation.


Cognitive capability: a focus on gender and science By Addabbo, Maccagnan, Di Tommaso

The aim of this paper is to investigate the determinants of children's cognitive capabilities in Italy accounting for the impact of institutional factors and family socio-economic status and taking into account gender inequalities in their development.The current focus on the cognitive capability is related to its crucial role for children development and  for  the  development  of  other  capabilities. OECD 2006 PISA data show that Italian children perform particularly bad in this dimension with a significant  gender  gap  at  the  disadvantage  of  girls.  We focus on a dimension of the cognitive capability: science. In addition to the tests score, we use data on other observable achievements related  to  science. A  first  set  of  indicators  relates  to  environmental  issues  &  sustainable development:  awareness  of  environmental  issues; perception of environmental issues; responsibility for sustainable development.  Other indicators are concerned with the student's activities related to science, their enjoyment and interest in science as well as the student's self efficacy in performing science related tasks. The final set of indicators concerns the student's personal and general values attributed to science. We  apply  a MIMIC  model to  OECD  2006  micro-data.The estimated model shows the relevance of all the indicators in defining the unobserved latent variable and that relevant gender differences in the impact of the conversion factors occur. The latter could not be evident if one had limited to test scores as a measure of student's achievements in science. Implications on the development of strategies able to reduce the observed gender gap are then discussed.

Multidimensional poverty in the early childhood and children's cognitive development: exploring the links in four developing countries by Aurino and  Burchi

This paper engages in the debate on the effects of children's health and nutrition on their education in later life stages. By using panel data from the younger cohort of the Young Lives study, this paper endorses a multidimensional approach to health (and poverty) and examines its long-run effects on different indicators of cognitive abilities. In particular, it asks whether the joint experience of multiple deprivations in the early years is dynamically associated to worse learning attainments when children are aged 5 and 8 years, and how the various dimensions of early poverty interact across each other in leading to worse medium-term cognitive outcomes. In doing so, the paper aims at taking a step beyond the measurement of multidimensional poverty by modelling its potential effects over children's lifecourse. Also, by using the overarching theoretical framework of the CA, the paper attempts to bridge the gap between the economic literature on ECD and the one on multidimensional measurement of children's poverty, which, despite being complementary, have been so far separated due to disciplinary barriers.

The evidence reported shows that even after controlling for a large number of child, caregiver and household characteristics, the adoption of a multidimensional approach to the measurement of early childhood poverty is more suited to capture variation in later cognitive outcomes than the unidimensional metrics of height-for-age.

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