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Trends in social indicators and social sector financing, Volume 1
Author:van der Gaag, Jacques; Makonnen, Elene; Englebert, Pierre; Date Stored:1991/05/01
Document Date:1991/05/31Document Type:Policy Research Working Paper
SubTopics:Demographics; Early Childhood Development; Health Monitoring & Evaluation; Health Economics & Finance; Early Child and Children's HealthLanguage:English
Major Sector:(Historic)Social ProtectionReport Number:WPS662
Sub Sectors:Other Social ProtectionCollection Title:Policy, Research, and External Affairs working paper ; no. WPS 662. Welfare and Human Resources
Volume No:1  

Summary: Over the past three decades, per capita GDP has increased worldwide. The authors examine whether this has resulted in better quality of life in developing countries. This paper documents the evolution of social indicators (health, education, nutrition), private consumption, and government expenditure on the social sectors. They conclude that developing countries made uneven progress in the quality of life in the period under study. Key findings include: (a) health indicators showed stable improvements in all regions, but Africa's rates were the slowest; (b) of all social indicators, education made the greatest gains, however, net enrollment ratios actually decreased in Africa in the 1980s; (c) while developing nations as a group enjoyed improved indices of undernutrition in 1965-85, the degree of undernutrition worsened in more than one-third of sub-Saharan African countries; (d) Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean also saw declines in average per capita private consumption during the 1980s; and (e) the share of total government expenditure on health remained stable in all regions, but that of education declined in Africa, South Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean. The authors also note that any effort to assess trends is severely hampered by lack of information. The quality of existing data is not systematically trustworthy, and there are many gaps.

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