Addressing selected child poverty measurement gaps - Social Policy Unit


The purpose of this consultancy is to address two identified knowledge gaps related to global child poverty measurement and CMDP-equal opportunities in high income countries. The first gap will be addressed by assessing the quality, pertinence and features of global, regional and national poverty estimates resulting from GWP. The second gap will be addressed by providing the evidence necessary to quantify the linkage between investments in education, on the one hand, and CMDP and equal opportunities in HICs, on the other.

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For 70 years, UNICEF has been working on the ground in 190 countries and territories to promote children's survival, protection and development. The world's largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

Terms of Reference
Addressing selected child poverty measurement gaps

15 October 2017 – 31 January 2018

1. Background

More than 350 million children live in extreme monetary poverty worldwide, that is, below USD 1.90 (2011 PPP) per person per day (Newhouse et al., 2016) . Alarmingly, this is twice the incidence of extreme poverty among adults. Astonishingly, these are the first global child poverty numbers produced consistently with global population-wide poverty numbers. And despite these numbers are the latest available, they refer to the 2013, pointing to a four year lag in obtaining reliable estimate of children poverty. Worse yet is the situation for child multidimensional poverty: currently, we do not have global numbers for MD poverty incidence, left alone child MD poverty, even though progress to increase the number of CMDP measures has been notable in the last five years (including more than 40 country national CMDP measures and several regional comparisons in EU, Africa and Arab region). 

Addressing these measurement gaps requires frequent data for a large number of countries. Such data are typically found in household surveys inquiring about living conditions, wellbeing and/or incomes and expenditures. Unfortunately, such surveys are relatively scare and very unequally distributed. According to World Bank (2016) , some 74 countries are data deprived, that is, they still lack the basic data required to monitor poverty over two points in time within a 10-year span. These countries have no data points at all, have only one data point each, or have two data points, but more than five years apart. 

At the same time, the standard measurement of monetary poverty around the USD 1.90 per person per day poverty line is clearly not suitable child poverty in high income countries (HIC). In such countries, child multidimensional poverty and deprivation measures are used instead. In fact, UNICEF frequently estimates, ranks and monitors CMDP and other wellbeing in high income countries and reported in flagship publications like the “Report Card.” In these publications, in addition to CMDP, increasing attention is given to fairness and equality of opportunities among children. Despite the progress made on measurement, much less is known about the extent to which public investments in children (that is, public spending on education, health, nutrition and other programs) have on CMDP and equality of opportunities in those countries.

UNICEF’s Office of Research would like to address these two selected knowledge gaps affecting global child poverty and CMDP in high income countries. In view of the flagrant data deprivation existing in poor regions, this consultancy seeks first to assess the adequacy of the arguably only global source of socioeconomic data collected every year, the Gallup World Poll Survey, GWP, to monitor global poverty, both monetary and MD, across children and population-wide.  Secondly, in order to address the gap linking the efficiency of public spending in improving CMDP and equal opportunities in rich countries, this consultancy also seeks to measure the extent that CMDP and equality of opportunity vary with the level and composition of public spending across HICs.

2. Objectives and activities of the consultancy

The main purpose of this consultancy is to address two identified knowledge gaps related to global child poverty measurement and CMDP-equal opportunities in high income countries. The first gap will be addressed by assessing the quality, pertinence and features of global, regional and national poverty estimates resulting from GWP. The second gap will be addressed by providing the evidence necessary to quantify the linkage between investments in education, on the one hand, and CMDP and equal opportunities in HICs, on the other.

These objectives will be achieved through the following key activities:

A. Global child poverty measurement:

(1) Estimation of global and regional monetary poverty incidences using GWP;
(2) Comparison of GWP poverty monetary incidences with World Bank monetary poverty incidences;
(3) Estimation of national MDP and national CMDP from GWP and their comparison with existing MODA and    MPI numbers;
(4) Proposal for data collection improvements in GWP to become a trusted global child poverty monitoring    tool.
 The estimation and comparison of GWP poverty incidence numbers vis-à-vis other sources will be complemented with specific analyses at country level (to determine the adequacy of such numbers with respect to living conditions/income expenditure national household surveys). A final part of the exercise will consist in the projection of global poverty numbers using GWP data and a range of macroeconomic assumptions.

The consultant will be expected to participate in:
(1) The empirical analysis of monetary and MD poverty (population wide and child specific) from successive   GWP rounds;
(2) The selection and further analysis of specific country cases;
(3) The drafting and writing––as co-author–– of at least one technical paper and a policy brief discussing key   findings and proposals in a less technical language.

B. Public Spending, CMDP and Equality of Opportunities in HICs

(1)Conducting an analysis linking the level and composition of public spending on education and   other related sectors—among them, social transfers—and the extent of  observed CMDP and unequal   educational opportunities;

(2) Conducting an opportunity incidence analysis for a few selected countries. This analysis will inform to what extent public spending on education benefits different types of children (categorized by the set of circumstances they are born into). This analysis will go beyond country-level spending indicators and will exploit disaggregated information of spending by composition (spending by grade, type of education and geography (regional disaggregation). More specifically, the consultant will expectedly apply the Opportunity Incidence Analysis, OIA, developed by Cuesta (2014) to a number of country case studies (for example, Australia, Chile, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom) that represent diverse regions and policies.

The consultant will be expected to participate in:
(4) The analysis of public spending on education and educational outcomes and unequal opportunities for all  HICs;
(5) The selection of several country cases studies, around 5-6, to conduct the OIA; 
(6) The analysis of OIA for selected country cases;
(7) The timely drafting of key findings, methodological issues, and presentations as required. 

All these tasks will be conducted in close collaboration with the Office of Research Social and Economic Policy team.

Interested candidates are invited to submit their CV and a cover letter detailing their experience in the measurement and analysis of monetary poverty, MD poverty and child poverty/wellbeing; and their knowledge and experience working with GWP surveys and national household surveys from which poverty estimates are typically produced. The cover letter will also specify experience in the analysis of equal opportunities, benefit incidence analysis and child wellbeing. Candidates are also expected to have demonstrated skills in microeconomic analysis and previous experience in the drafting and writing of high quality research outputs.
3. Specific outputs/products/results with specific delivery dates:
- 15 November 2017: Full public spending analysis completed and first draft presenting the key empirical  findings, key messages and methodological aspects around the OIA of 5-6 countries.
- 29 December 2017: Full empirical results (poverty estimates from GWP) completed
- 31 January 2018: Complete drafts of global child poverty and CMDP/equal opportunities in HICS with final  empirical findings and key messages.

4. Qualifications and/or specialized knowledge/experience required and desirable for undertaking the assignment:

Requirements for the consultancy:

- At least a Master degree in economics, public policy or related field.
- At least 5 years of demonstrated experience on issues related to the measurement of child deprivation  and poverty, and determinants of child well-being, and benefit incidence.
- Proven experience working with GWP, national household surveys and administrative data (e.g.,  educational yearbooks, budgetary information).
- Demonstrated record of research and scientific publication.
- Current knowledge of key issues in international development policy, notably as these are related to  multidimensional child poverty, social policies and development assistance.
- Excellent quantitative/statistical and analytical skills.

5. Duration of the consultancy

The consultant will work 50 days, from beginning October 2017 to end January 2018 (about 4 month period).

N.B Candidates are to provide their all-inclusive daily fee in USD in order to be considered for this consultancy.




To view our competency framework, please click here

Please indicate your ability, availability and daily/monthly rate (in US$) to undertake the terms of reference above (including travel and daily subsistence allowance, if applicable).  Applications submitted without a daily/monthly rate will not be considered.

UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages qualified female and male candidates from all national, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of our organisation.

Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.
  • Organization: UNICEF - United Nations Children’s Fund
  • Location: Florence
  • Grade: Level not specified
  • Occupational Groups:
  • Closing Date: 2017-10-08

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