DSA2018: Global inequalities
- Paul Dornan (University of Oxford) email
- Gina Crivello (University of Oxford) email
- Virginia Morrow (University of Oxford) email
This panel will draw on papers exploring lasting effects of early disadvantage. The panel will pose - and seek to answer - the fundamental policy relevant questions of 'what matters most in the early life course?' The panel will draw on the rich Young Lives research study and from other relevant research that addresses this question.
Childhood is the crucible through which inequalities in education, skills or health are formed. Childhood, adolescence and youth are critical phases of human development and child poverty has potentially lifelong consequences. Tackling inequalities means addressing the differences in childhood circumstances such as child malnutrition, early learning, school leaving, early marriage and fertility.
The papers in this panel will consider evidence from a broad range of relevant research, including the Young Lives cohort study of children growing up in Ethiopia, India (in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana), Peru and Vietnam. The Young Lives study was set up to trace the outcomes of the children of the Millennium. The study has collected qualitative and quantitative information on 12,000 children as they have grown up over 15 years. Young Lives now represents a unique and powerful database following children from infancy to early adulthood, reporting on changing experiences and circumstances.
The panel aim is to examine core messages illuminating how and when in the life course key factors shape children's development, influencing later opportunities. Key questions will include: why did some children do better than others despite early disadvantages?; What was the role of gender alongside poverty and other exclusions?; What was similar and different across the four diverse study countries?; And what are key take away implications for policy and programming?
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.
Inequalities in Early Learning: What can we learn from DHS and MICS surveys?
This paper discusses the level of between and within country inequalities in early childhood development using all available DHS/MICS surveys. The paper shows what countries and groups are the most disadvantaged and what dimensions of early development is the most affected by inequalities.
Using data from 60 countries covering 25% of the under 5 population of developing countries, we compute the early child development index (ECDI) for all countries and socio-economic groups within countries. We present level of inequalities between and within countries for the ECDI and its 4 sub-components. We also present level of inequalities in inputs such as participation to early education programs, child's health, learning tools and parental involvement. We show that wealth related inequalities are large, notably in early literacy and numeracy.
Then, we explore transmission channels that explain how poverty affects the poorest children using a global compiled dataset of more than 200,000 children aged 3 and 4. We show that access to early education, books, parental education and child health are important factors explaining early childhood development but large differences between rich and poor children remain even after controlling by these factors. We discuss implications and develop policy recommendations.
Accounting for Intergenerational Social Mobility in Low- and Middle-Income Countries - Evidence from the Poorest in Ethiopia, India, Peru, and Vietnam
This study investigates intergenerational social mobility and its particular transmission mechanisms in low- and middle-income countries. We find that the time poorer children spend in child labor and the number of children living in the household account for large parts of the immobility observed.
This study investigates intergenerational social mobility and its particular transmission mechanisms in low- and middle-income countries. Using data from Ethiopia, India, Peru, and Vietnam, we estimate the degree to which socioeconomic status persists across generations. We then analyze through which channels this persistence is mediated. Thereby we also consider channels that are of particular relevance in developing countries, such as the need to work in child labor or the time to school. The results illustrate that having a poor instead of a middle-class family background decreases the chances for a child to obtain the highest schooling degree by 20 percent in the countries under study. Besides transmission factors also identified as determining social mobility in developed countries such as cognitive ability, we find that the time poorer children spend in child labor and the number of additional children living in the household account for large parts of the immobility observed.
Playing catch-up: Putting the world's poorest and most marginalised children at the heart of SDG monitoring
We propose a new compelling method to monitor progress towards the Leave No One behind Pledge in a more systematic and accessible way. We compute global and national trends in six child-related SDG indicators, showing for the first time disaggregated trends for the global poorest 20%.
Almost three years from the signing of the SDGs, the pledge to Leave No One Behind and to put the furthest behind first have lapsed into rhetoric rather than driven meaningful change. The slow progress that many poor and marginalised groups are making towards SDG targets is still often masked by reporting of national and global averages. To remain true to the spirit of the pledge, the world's poorest and most marginalised groups must lie at the heart of SDG monitoring and accountability, with systematic reporting of disaggregated data at national and global levels, and the deployment of innovative data collection techniques to fill data gaps for those groups that remain uncounted.
We propose a new compelling method to monitor progress towards the Leave No One behind Pledge in a more systematic and accessible way. We estimate progress for poor and marginalised groups for six selected child deprivation indicators (child mortality, stunting, school completion, learning outcomes, child marriage, birth registration), while also showing how far the world has to go to reach the targets by 2030. We compute the trends for the poorest 20% globally in comparison to the global average as well as progress on the country level.
The paper also contributes to the discussion on how to communicate progress on the groups and communities left behind. The data developed in this work will be made available in an interactive data dashboard, providing an opportunity for interested actors to show the progress countries are making towards the SDGs.
Conceptualizing Childhoods: Transitions and trajectories of children among the Argobbas in northeast Ethiopia.
This paper explores how perceptions and socio-cultural practices invariably contribute to inequalities in children's lives among the Argobba communities in Ethiopia. Emerging findings from doctoral research highlight key issues shaping children's opportunities in transitioning into adulthood.
The government of Ethiopia has expressed its commitment to ensure the rights and welfare of children in the country. Among some minority groups, such as the Argobbas, the protection and wellbeing of children, however, is governed much more by traditional values than the provisions made by the policies and legal instruments. Hence, there are still gaps, which show the existence of inequalities among children.
Data was gathered from children, parents and adults through small group and key informants interviews, review of documents and case studies. Preliminary findings of the research has shown the existence of variations in the views that adults and children hold with respect to childhood, children's participation, education, marriage and decisions regarding migration. Coming of age to work, a time when children start making valued contribution to the household economy marks the period when childhood ends. Socio-cultural practices and values rooted in religious beliefs largely influence conceptualizations and practices regarding childhood, education and marriage as well as gender inequality and how children's agency is expressed. Economic issues, peer influence and the effects of globalization determine decisions about migration among children and young people.
Changes are, however, being observed as a result of greater interaction of the Argobbas with other communities, the introduction of development projects and as a consequence of globalization as manifested through growth and expansion of education, means of communication such as mobile phones, commerce, urbanization and the development of infrastructure leading to narrowing the gap of inequalities in time and place.
Uncertainty from the perspectives of street connected and marginalised rural youth in their complex lives: Case studies from Ethiopia and Nepal
Marginalised youth in Ethiopia and Nepal have worked with national researchers to understand uncertainty in their complex lives. Case studies from rural and urban conflict affected and environmentally fragile sites illuminate how structural inequalities and uncertainty affect youth strategies.
Youth Uncertainty (YOUR) World Research uses creative visual, moving and narrative methods to understand how uncertainty is experienced in the complex everyday lives of marginalised young women and men, and young people who are genderfluid (aged 15-24 years). National teams are analysing how youth experiences of uncertainty are shaped by structural inequalities and suggest national definitions of marginalisation need to take into account youth experiences of exclusion and vulnerability. Case studies illuminate how youth see uncertainty in their transitions as they grow up; in the places and spaces they inhabit; in their peer and intergenerational relationships, their feelings of autonomy and belonging; and in their decisions to migrate for employment and internationally to seek new futures. In rural conflict affected, drought prone, and earthquake affected sites, youth can see successful migrants as their role models. In the face of high unemployment and school drop-out, coupled with family expectations for young men to provide for their families and the threat of early marriage and hard work for extended families for young women, many of the most marginalised migrate to cities to try their luck in the informal sector. In street situations, some feel they face a certainty of persistent poverty and would prefer to embrace uncertainty to take precarious journeys to find hope of a more positive future. Returnee migrants also face challenges if not successful of not being accepted back into families and communities and find new peer relationships of understanding and support.
Developmental spaces? Development psychology and urban geographies of youth in Tanzania.
We explore how Tanzania's urban spaces hinder key psychosocial developmental processes for youth. City life shapes poverty and hardship and transforms the social norms and practices that nurture healthy psychosocial development, setting shaky foundations for future opportunities and well-being.
This paper explores the ways in which Tanzania's urban spaces help or hinder the developmental processes young people undergo at this critical stage in the life-cycle. Drawing on a development psychology literature, we propose a four-fold framework for understanding youth development, analysing the ways in which the city and its social, economic and political landscapes influence psychosocial processes of building foundations, building blocks, building support structures and building aspirations. In doing so, we analyse the ways in which the city's (ever-changing) social, economic, spatial and political forces are internalised by young people, the ways in which young people can or cannot respond to these, and the ways in which this can enhance or constrain their psychosocial development. In doing so, we unpick what goes on in the black-box between difficult urban environments and the outcomes we see in terms of the dampened agency and aspirations of youth, highlighting the ways in which the structural forces and agential experiences of city life are internally-mediated by Tanzania's youth.
Through this, we begin to understand the earlier roots of the challenges urban youth face today: the ways in which the city not only shapes poverty and hardship for young residents, but also transforms social norms and practices, directly constraining or eroding these developmental processes. Where family support and socioeconomic status do not exist to protect young people in tough economic contexts, city life in Tanzania inhibits these four developmental processes, setting shaky foundations with consequences for future social and economic opportunities and well-being.
What does youth resilience look like in everyday context of poverty? Longitudinal evidence from Young Lives
This paper asks why some youth are able to ‘beat the odds’ despite the odds being stacked against them early in life. The data come from Young Lives, an international mixed-methods study of childhood poverty tracing the life trajectories of two age cohorts over a fifteen-year period. We examine youth outcomes (age 22) and look back in time to understand what supported those who were faring well in the face of adversity. We present findings from analysis of a selection of the young people’s in-depth narratives about their changing routines, relationships, circumstances and contexts. Among other factors, the paper looks at the crucial role of children’s social relationships and support networks, migration, institutional barriers and the importance of hope and ‘second chances’ in explaining positive youth outcomes. However, the longitudinal and life course approach shows that trajectories remain fragile and futures uncertain.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.