Stephen Kidd examines child poverty in developed and developing countries. The full paper, with five graphs and references, is only eight pages, and well worth reading. Here are three segments that caught my attention.
The threat of being stigmatised by poverty targeting is … a challenge in developing countries, as evidenced in countries as diverse as Nepal, Malawi and Mexico. As in developed countries, many poor people are proud and do not want to live on “handouts,” even though many have no choice but to accept them. Unfortunately the demeaning character of poverty targeting is not regarded as a concern by many policy makers or international development agencies. Indeed, stigmatisation is often used as a targeting tool, for example when lists of potential beneficiaries are posted on walls to enable community members to verify selection. Yet, moving towards a culture of entitlements within social security provision is likely to result in both a greater impact on poverty and strengthened self-respect. ….
The fact that a greater commitment to poverty targeting is associated with higher child poverty is counter-intuitive for many people. Many people presume that poverty targeting must be more “progressive,” but this is not consistent with the evidence. In reality, it would appear that the more that countries are committed to universal provision of social benefits, the more progressive their social policy. ….
In rural areas [of developing countries], the best form of childcare may be to establish universal pension schemes, so that grandparents can take care of their grandchildren, while mothers go out to work.
Stephen Kidd, “Child Poverty in OECD Countries: Lessons for Developing Countries“, Pathways’ Perspectives #2 (June 2012).
Stephen Kidd is a Senior Social Policy Specialist at Development Pathways. He is co-author (with L. Willmore) of Tackling Poverty in Old Age: A Universal Pension for Sri Lanka (HelpAge International, London, 2008).