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Fiscal Equity for Children

Governments’ fiscal decisions about where to spend money and how to raise the resources have huge implications for the realisation of children’s rights. Fiscal incidence analyses provide important insights into the equity impacts of fiscal policies and new evidence on financial decisions' impact.

Public spending is critical for putting essential foundations in place for economies to develop and societies to thrive – foundations such as education, health care, protection from violence and social safety nets. These foundations are not only public goods but are also fundamental human rights.

However, it is often very difficult to track who is really benefiting from public spending in many countries, particularly when it comes to assessing the specific impact on children. To help fill this information gap, Save the Children is working with partners to conduct fiscal incidence analyses for children. We’re combining data from different sources to assess the joint impact of government spending and taxation on the lives of poor and marginalised children.

Fair Shares? Fiscal equity for children in Kenya

This briefing presents the results of new analysis of the impacts that public spending and taxation are having on child poverty and inequality in Kenya.

  1. Overall, we find social spending on children to be pro-poor.
  2. When we break the data down, we see that spending is not pro-poor in all sectors.
  3. The combined impact of taxation and cash transfers in Kenya impoverishes children.
  4. Poor and marginalised children benefit significantly from public spending in Kenya.

To accompany the briefing, we have developed an online dashboard which presents the key results of this analysis for each of Kenya’s 47 counties. Another tool allows a user to simulate potential child benefits schemes - a powerful way to reduce child poverty - and estimates the fiscal costs of each intervention as well as their impact on child poverty.

A new SDG indicator on pro-poor spending

Measuring how much public spending on social services such as health, education and social protection benefits poor communities is important in all countries. This data can help governments and civil servants to better understand who they reach with the services they finance and ultimately make better decisions. And it helps citizen or civil society organisations such as Save the Children to hold governments accountable for their commitments.

A new indicator on pro-poor social spending, proposed by Save the Children and UNICEF, aims to make this evidence base part of the data framework which accompanies the Sustainable Development Goals. You can find more information about the SDG indicator 1.b.1 in the resources below.

More resources

The following resources provide you with more information on our work on fiscal equity for children: