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What inequality means for children: evidence from young lives

Woodhead, Martin; Dornan, Paul and Murray, Helen (2014). What inequality means for children: evidence from young lives. International Journal of Children's Rights, 22(3) pp. 467–501.

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Understanding how poverty and inequalities impact on children is the major goal of Young Lives, a unique longitudinal, mixed-methods study. Two cohorts totaling 12,000 children are being tracked since 2001, growing-up in Ethiopia, the state of Andhra Pradesh (AP) India, Peru and Vietnam.
We summarise Young Lives evidence to date on eight research issues that are central to any child rights agenda:

1.How inequalities interact in their impact on children’s development and the vulnerability of the most disadvantaged households.
2.The ways inequalities rapidly undermine the development of human potential.
3.How gender differences interconnect with other inequalities, but do not always advantage boys in Young Lives countries.
4.The links between poverty, early ‘stunting’, and later outcomes, including psycho-social functioning, as well as emerging evidence that some children recover.
5.Inequalities that open up during the later years of childhood, linked to transitions around leaving school, working, and anticipating marriage etc.
6.Children’s own perceptions of poverty and inequality, as these shape their well-being and long-term prospects.
7.Evidence of the growing significance of education, including the ways school systems can increase as well as reduce inequalities.
8.The potential of social protection programmes in poverty alleviation.

We conclude that since inequalities are multidimensional, so too must be the response. Equitable growth policies, education and health services, underpinned by effective social protection, all have a role to play.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2014 Koninklijke Brill nv, Leiden
ISSN: 1571-8182
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Not SetNot SetDepartment for International Development (DFID)
Not SetNot SetNetherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Extra Information: Earlier versions of this paper were prepared as Young Lives contribution to a UNICEF/UN Women consultation on the post-2015 Development agenda, ( and published as Woodhead, Dornan and Murray (2013).
Keywords: inequality; child poverty; gender; development; well being; malnutrition; education; social protection
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
Research Group: Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology (CREET)
Item ID: 41198
Depositing User: Martin Woodhead
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2014 16:12
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2018 22:15
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