Children's wellbeing is closely linked to major aspects of economic
policy. By specifically focusing on inequality, policies for pro-poor
growth, trade policy and trade liberalisation, and issues relating to
inflation and fiscal deficits, this paper reviews evidence concerning
the impact of key macroeconomic and structural policies on poverty
reduction in general and children's wellbeing in particular.
Demonstrating that economic growth is not sufficient for poverty
reduction, but must be accompanied by redistribution, the paper argues
for a combination of growth-oriented and distributional measures. In
particular, it calls for pro-child policies, such as such as promotion
of women's status and increased public spending on basic services to
improve health, nutrition and educational outcomes.
International trade has the potential to generate great improvements in
the wellbeing of poor people. However, trade liberalisation implemented
on its own and too rapidly has not benefited the poorest countries. The
paper therefore recommends that liberalisation be preceded by a formal
system of social protection and pro-poor policies, particularly
universal basic education, as well as equitable access to production
assets. The paper similarly argues that macroeconomic adjustment of
spiralling inflation and unsustainable public sector deficits should be
undertaken with the objective of minimising fluctuations in employment,
as well as interventions which target children and mothers in order to
protect them from adverse effects. In contexts of scarce resources and
many competing priorities, donor support will be essential to realise
the potential of economic policies for poor families and children.
Waddington, H. (2004) CHIP Report 7: Linking economic policy to childhood poverty - A review of the evidence on growth, trade reform and macroeconomic policy. Childhood Poverty Research and Policy Centre (CHIP), London, UK, ISBN: 1-904922-07-4, iii + 76 pp.