The recent dynamics of child well-being in uruguay. a longitudinal study

Failache, Elisa; Salas, Gonzalo; Vigorito, Andrea (2018). 'The recent dynamics of child well-being in Uruguay. A longitudinal study' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, Buenos Aires, Argentina 2018.


There are scarce studies assessing the medium and long-run dynamics of poverty and inequality in developing countries due to the lack of suitable longitudinal data. This paper contributes to fill this gap by analysing uni and multidimensional poverty and inequality among children in Uruguay, based on three waves from the longitudinal study Estudio Longitudinal del Bienestar en Uruguay  (ELBU). ELBU is a longitudinal study that follows children that were attending the first grade at public primary schools in 2004 (85% of the cohort) and has been carried out by Instituto de Economia to investigate multidimensional well-being. Information on the dataset, survey questionnaires and micro-data can be found at To date, three waves (2004, 2011/12 and 2015/16) covering urban areas have been completed. Children were approximately six years old in the baseline and were around 18 in the last round.  Panel attrition is 38% and there are no substantial biases in the loss in terms of socio-economic characteristics (Failache, Salas and Vigorito, 2016).

Based on the methodologies proposed by Alkire and Foster (2011), Bourguignon (1999), Lugo (2007) and Jenkins and Schluter (2003), children  trajectories  are  assessed  computing uni and multidimensional  poverty  and  inequality  indexes  in  four  basic  domains:  access  to  resources (durable goods and income) nutrition, education and housing conditions. Improvements can be noticed in all indicators, although they are considerably lower in the non-monetary dimensions.  Specifically, increased access to resources coexisted with  a reduction  in  school attendance during teenagerhood. At the same time, disaggregations by sex and ethnicity of the household head uncover strong disparities.  In terms of mobility, high persistence in  income  and  multidimensional  strata  are  found, particularly at the top and bottom of both distributions. The study also reveals that approximately 28% of children remained multidimensionally poor in all periods (with k = 1), while 50% did so in terms of income. Households with Afro-descent household heads and lower educational levels were the less able to overcome the poverty condition. In general, exits from income and multidimensional poverty were associated to increased employment among adults and income variations and, to a lower extent, to changes in household structure and access to public transfers. However, faced against the same triggering events, multidimensional poverty reacted to a lower extent than income poverty. 

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