Innocenti Working Papers

The UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre (IRC) was created to strengthen UNICEF's research capability and to support its advocacy for children worldwide. The Working Papers (formerly Innocenti Occasional Papers), are the foundation of the Centre's research output, underpinning many of the Centre's other publications. These high quality research papers are aimed at an academic and well-informed audience, contributing to ongoing discussion on a wide range of child-related issues.


Poverty, Inequality and Policy Affecting Vulnerable Groups in Moldova

This paper analyzes the changes that have intervened in the field of income poverty and human poverty since the onset of the transition in Moldova. With a biblical contraction of GDP, a fast rise in inequality, a drop in social expenditure and a weakening of civil society, most indicators of income poverty and human poverty deteriorated sharply since 1991. A clear improvement is evident since 2001, but most indicators of wellbeing still have to recover their pre-transition levels. Poverty in Moldova is largely a rural problem affecting agricultural labourers, small farmers and households in declining mono-industry towns. Children living in families with three or more children, in single-parent families or with substitute guardians, as well as pre-school age children living in remote rural areas (where public support systems collapsed) are particularly vulnerable. Social policy has moderated substantially the impact of the crisis in some areas (as in primary and secondary education, child health and poverty among pensioners) but not in other (poverty, adult mortality, kindergarten enrolments, and social marginalisation). In addition, the mass migration that took place to respond to the spread of poverty solved some problems but concurrently created new ones, especially in the field of child socialisation and family stability. There is some scope for social and macroeconomic policy to help reducing the negative inheritance of the first ten years of transition. Macroeconomic policy is rather deflationary, and keeps aggregate growth below what is needed to eradicate poverty quickly while paying little attention to its impact on inequality. There is a room therefore to place greater emphasis on an equitable pro-poor growth characterized by greater investment in agriculture and higher overall employment intensity, as well as a better allocation of migrant remittances and stronger social policies.


Keywords: children, inequality, health, poverty, transition, education, fertility, macroeconomics, social policy
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