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Social Issues

April, 2021
Thematic Area: 

The COVID-19 pandemic and response have wrought widespread changes in employment levels, household income, measures for keeping children safe, and daily life at the household and community level. Globally there are indications that the pandemic has led to an increase in certain types of violence. Given Jamaica’s pervasive violence problem, this trend raises concerns, and so ascertaining what impact the pandemic has had on violence, while methodologically challenging, is necessary. Jamaica consistently ranks as one of the most violent countries in the world in all these categories. There is an ongoing need for reliable evidence to inform policies, programmes, and interventions to reduce violent behaviour and enhance citizen security.

April, 2021
Thematic Area: 

The socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Caribbean are non-neutral, affecting some persons and entities more than others, with vulnerable groups including children, youth, women and girls, the poor, informal sector workers and small businesses, being among the hardest hit. To curb the rapid transmission of the disease Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs) – full and partial border closures, lockdowns, curfews etc. – have been adopted and are still in place (to varying extents) by governments in the Caribbean, and around the world. NPIs, while contributing to reduced transmission of the disease have destabilised social and economic activity, producing negative effects for many, with worse impacts for vulnerable groups, as their pre-existing susceptibility to socio- economic shocks limited their capacity to cope with the effects of the pandemic.

March, 2021
Thematic Area: 

This report examines the quality of state care for children in Jamaica. It focuses on the role that governance plays in the development and implementation of policies and programmes whose stated aim is to promote the best interests of children in need of care and protection. Consistent with many other low-resourced countries, Jamaica does not have a robust governance structure to coordinate and oversee the effective management of state care programmes for children. The current governance structure lacks a number of important characteristics including: active collaboration, clear escalation pathways, effective and consistent communication, as well as guidance and enforcement mechanisms.

March, 2021
Thematic Area: 

Inequitable growth, with high income inequality and low social mobility, forestalls countries’ ability to capitalize on their most prized asset – its people. Inclusive growth, on the other hand,maintains the economic foundations of a country. People living in poverty cannot afford crucial investments in the bases of human development, such as education or health. Consequently, productivity levels are sub-optimal, as is economic output. Furthermore, unaddressed poverty exacts a greater burden on public resources. Public resources that could and should be committed to preventative and proactive measures of reducing poverty are instead spent addressing the consequences of poverty. As a result, economic progress may be undone.

February, 2021
Thematic Area: 

Abortion is illegal in Jamaica. It is, however, easily obtainable, albeit with varying degrees of safety. In Jamaica, complications from abortion is the third leading cause of maternal death. Complications from unsafe abortions burden the public health system and exact economic, societal, familial, and individual costs. The familial and individual costs are disproportionately borne by poor, vulnerable women and their dependents. There are financial and opportunity costs of unsafe abortion morbidity and mortality as borne by the public health system when women seek treatment from complications arising from unsafe terminations (or attempted terminations.) Finally, there are legal costs: women who seek medical services to safely terminate a pregnancy, and medical practitioners who provide those services, risk arrest and prosecution. This report examines the negative societal and individual outcomes resulting from the unlawfulness of safe termination of pregnancy in Jamaica, and measures the economic impact of those negative outcomes.

October, 2020
Thematic Area: 

This study explores the implications of a national identification system for Jamaica and provides evidence to support the need for a national identification card, including its economic value. Jamaica does not presently have an identification that serves as a general- purpose identification, usable across all activities. Such IDs, known as foundational IDs, are usually created with the general population in mind, rather than a specific group of citizens. It is the norm in many jurisdictions that such IDs are universally available and are used for multiple purposes. In Jamaica, instead of using a foundational ID, functional IDs, such as passport, electoral ID, and driver’s licence, together with the TRN, are used to authenticate citizens’ identity. Those means of identification were not intended to verify identities in other contexts, or by third parties, but rather to meet the objectives of the issuing organizations. These current ID systems are not only limited in their coverage and, for some, costly to obtain, but there is a lack of interconnectivity; that is, each system’s collection, processing, storage, and management of identity data is isolated from each of the others.

August, 2020
Thematic Area: 

This study examines the barriers to entrepreneurship that Jamaican women face, and to offer relevant policy solutions to remove those barriers. Of the research that does exist, case studies and qualitative evidence suggests that there are constraints facing female entrepreneurs that men do not encounter. However, there is a general lack of empirical evidence on what these barriers are, and how they operate, particularly in emerging countries such as Jamaica. Jamaican women entrepreneurs have been featured in traditional and online media articles which tell their stories, and usually include some of the difficulties they have encountered, which may or may not be related to gender, but there is a dearth of evidence-informed analysis. This is a well-recognized problem: one recommendation posited in the newly updated Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) & Entrepreneurship Policy, which is administered by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries (MICAF,) was the need for more empirical research to outline the realities facing Jamaican women, and to support the efforts of the government in combating identified barriers.

 

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