The UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti undertakes activities to ensure that high quality research contributes to evidence-informed policy making for programming for children among UNICEF country offices and their national partners. The Social and Economic Policy (SEP) Unit within Innocenti has an active research agenda covering three main areas of work:
- The impact of social protection programs (e.g. cash transfers, school incentives, adolescent empowerment) on household economic security and adolescent well-being;
- Child poverty analysis in OECD and developing countries encompassing both a deprivation and monetary approach;
- Thematic research on child well-being in OECD countries culminating in the Report Card, a flagship publication of Innocenti. The team in the Social and Economic Policy Unit conduct econometric research, including primary data collection in collaboration with UNICEF country offices, using large, household survey data. Research outputs include working papers, journal articles, book chapters, and research briefs.
The purpose of this call is to build a roster of consultants from which to draw candidates for selections planned in the next three to six months by the SEP Unit. Selected candidates will be recruited as long-term consultants to help carry out its ambitious research agenda around child well-being and the impact of programs on families and children. Specifically, consultants will work with senior members of the SEP team to clean and build data sets, and to conduct econometric analyses under the technical guidance and supervision of senior team members. Consultants will contribute to all the research products described above. Where necessary, consultants will travel to UNICEF country offices to provide technical assistance in research design, analysis and field work. The purpose of this call is to solicit applications from individuals who are interested in working for SEP as a long-term consultant in this capacity (maximum 11.5 months per year).
Specific areas of expertise
We envision recruiting long-term consultants to be selected from the roster for three different research streams.
Stream 1- Report Card
Consultant will provide intellectual input into the Report Card, including data needs and sources, definition of league tables and defining background papers. The consultant will subsequently work with senior SEP staff in developing several background papers, including data building, econometric and other statistical analysis, writing up of results and preparing league tables and other relevant syntheses for the Report Card. In addition Page 2 of 3 to contributing to the SEP outputs listed above, the consultant will also contribute to preparing specific dissemination and background/resource material specific to the Report Card, such as country briefs, media Q&A packages and other communication and materials.
Stream 2-Evaluation of Social Programs
The SEP team is engaged in two broad areas of research. The first is specifically focused on the causal pathways through which cash transfers affect adolescents’ risky behaviors, life transitions, time-use (schooling, labor) and well-being outcomes. Current evaluations in Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia led by the Transfer Project look at the overall impact of cash on a range of adolescent development outcomes including sexual debut, risky sex (partner characteristics, condom use), mental health, aspirations, schooling, time preference, agency (Hope), pregnancy, and labor force participation, among others. The consultant will contribute to the development and empirical testing of models of how cash transfers affect adolescent development, building on preliminary work already completed in Kenya and Malawi. This may include support field work for data collection in Zimbabwe, and Zambia, support in data management and analysis and writing papers and policy briefs on the impact of cash transfers on adolescents and methodological briefs on impact evaluation. The second stream of research looks at how social protection interventions affect broader issues of the family and children, including inter-personal violence, resiliency, economic empowerment, child health and nutrition and schooling, including causal pathways and moderator effects. In addition this stream of work will contribute to cross-country comparative analysis of the effects of cash transfers in a particular domain (e.g. schooling, gender), and prepare policy briefs and related advocacy and communication products targeted towards a wide range of potential consumers. Consultant will also support impact evaluation activities in new focus countries as necessary.
Stream 3-Child Poverty
Under this area, the consultant will support UNICEF country offices and/or their counterparts (e.g., national statistics offices, national research centers, ministries) in conceptualizing and creating national child poverty reports using the MODA (Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis) approach and using MICS/DHS data or national survey data (e.g., LSMS, household budget surveys, poverty surveys, etc.); introduce national counterparts to child poverty analysis in general, and the MODA approach in particular; assist with interpreting results and writing of reports; provide feedback and review the entire process. The consultant will also contribute to synthesis papers in order to demonstrate the construction of national child deprivation measures, their use, and patterns of child deprivation cross countries. The consultant will apply the MODA or other deprivation approaches to longitudinal data to analyze the dynamics of overlapping deprivations in order to contribute to a generalized understanding of child poverty dynamics.
- Master degree in statistics, economics, public policy, social policy or related field.
- Demonstrated experience at analyzing large-scale household survey data, preferably in regard to poverty and human development with a focus on children; experience with longitudinal data an asset.
- Ability to carry out statistical analyses autonomously.
- Excellent quantitative/statistical and analytical skills.
- Substantive knowledge on measurement of child deprivation and poverty, and determinants of child well-being.
- Ability to organize own work and to carry out a research project with limited supervision according to deadlines.
- Ability to speak and write fluently in English; good working knowledge of French or Spanish an asset.
- Excellent knowledge of Stata and other statistical packages.
- Current knowledge of key debates around child poverty, well-being, and policies to support families and children.
- Experience with field work and data collection.
- PhD in Social Sciences or related discipline.
- Ability to work in a multi-cultural environment and establish harmonious and effective working relationships both within and outside the organization.
Duration of roster-based consultancies
Consultants who are selected from the roster will work an average of between 18-20 days per month and will be issued a contract which is subject to UNICEF General Conditions of Contracts for the Services of Consultants / Individual Contractors. The length of the contract will depend on funding availability.
Supervision and work arrangements
Consultants who are selected from the roster will work under the supervision of the Chief of the Social and Economic Policy Unit and other senior staff in the unit. Longer-term consultants (more than six months) will work an average of 18-20 days per month at Innocenti premises in a shared office. The work may include incidental travel to participate in field work, workshops or conferences; such travel will be governed by UNICEF travel policies for consultants.
You need to send CV and cover letter. The cover letter should indicate the main research stream (if any) the applicant would like to work in, preferred start date and contract duration (no more than 11.5 months), daily fees in EUR, a description of previous experience relevant to the position, and acknowledgement that they understand the position for longer term assignments is based in Florence, Italy.
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