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UNICEF Social Inclusion, Policy and Budgeting

Human Development in Crisis

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AUTHOR Pedro Conceicao, Namsuk Kim, Ronald Mendoza and Yanchun Zhang
TYPE Working Paper
DATE 2009
TOPIC Child poverty and disparities

Is a dramatic slowdown in global economic growth going to erase much for the progress in the last decade in terms of human development in the developing world?  How might the crisis affect progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals?  To address these questions, this paper contributes in three ways. First, it briefly reviews the empirical literature and outlines the possible transmission of the crisis from the broader global economy to the national economy, and eventually to households, children and women. Second, it summarizes some of the emerging accounts from the field based on reports and interviews of poor people, suggesting that households -- and in particular children and women -- face severe strain as the crisis has begun to unfold. A third contribution is an empirical analysis of the historical relationhip between episodes of growth accelerations and decelerations with country level aggregate indicators of human development (e.g., life expectancy, infant and under-five mortality and school enrollment), using data covering the period between 1980 and 2006.

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