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Breaking the cycle of Roma exclusion in the Western Balkans

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Breaking the cycle of Roma exclusion in the Western Balkans

March 2019

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Roma inclusion is not just a moral imperative. Europe’s aging population means it is also a smart economy. The benefits of Roma inclusion are not insignificant and include productivity gains associated with higher employment rates and labor income, as well as tax benefits through higher tax revenues and lower taxes. social assistance expenditure. This is particularly important in aging societies, as integrating Roma into the workforce can help counteract the decline in the working age population. The Roma constitute a young population, and this demographic explosion can be transformed into a demographic dividend through appropriate investments in education and basic services. Without additional investment, governments will miss a demographic window of opportunity.

Due to the lack of high-quality data, research on Roma inclusion that can inform evidence-based policies is scarce, and accurate data on programs implemented in the Western Balkans is needed.. Ethnicity is generally not a topic in nationally representative household surveys, and administrative data are generally not disaggregated by ethnicity. Sometimes Roma people don’t like to identify themselves as such. As a result, there is generally undercounting in censuses and undersampling in household surveys.

This report aims to fill this knowledge gap and inform policymaking by drawing on data from the 2011 and 2017 rounds of the Regional Roma Survey (RRS), the most comprehensive survey to date on living conditions and human development outcomes among marginalized Roma households in the country. Western Balkans, as well as non-Roma households living near Roma. The 2011 cycle of the ERR, implemented in 12 countries in Central and Eastern Europe, including five countries in the Western Balkans, is a multi-theme household survey representative of communities in which the share of Roma is greater than the share of Roma in national populations. . It includes both the Roma population and neighboring non-Roma people. After the implementation of the first wave of the RRS in 2011, the Directorate-General for Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) of the European Commission (EC), with the aim of exploring changes in the main results of development among marginalized Roma and non-Roma living nearby, commissioned the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the World Bank to conduct a new round of RRS in Western Balkan countries in 2017.

In both waves of the ERR, the sampling frame included communities in which the share of the Roma population was greater than the share of Roma in the national population, referred to as marginalized Roma. In the 2011 wave, the sample was limited to Roma living in areas where the concentration of Roma is greater than 40%; In the 2017 wave, areas with a Roma concentration between 10 and 40 percent were also included. During both waves, non-Roma living in physical proximity to the sampled Roma were also interviewed; described as “non-Roma”, they are not representative of the national population of each country. Not included in the first round, Kosovo was added to the survey on this occasion. Parallel qualitative research carried out by the World Bank, in collaboration with the Institute of Ethnography of Serbia, also helps to understand the underlying mechanisms behind the gaps between Roma and non-Roma in education and on labor markets, with particular attention to gender..

The results show that marginalized Roma in the Western Balkans do not have the endowments and assets they need, nor the capacity to use the assets they have effectively and intensively to generate economic gains and move up the ladder. socio-economic.. Roma face multiple barriers and constraints that hinder their ability to accumulate human capital, participate in the labor market on an equal footing, and generate economic gains. Insufficient stock and accumulation of human, physical, financial and social capital has hampered the ability of Roma households to generate income throughout their lives. Marginalized Roma are not well endowed; among them, the return on education is low; and their ability to accumulate assets is limited. Low engagement in the labor market is also a persistent phenomenon among them and has not improved; their capacity to generate labor income is therefore limited. A comparison of RRS data from 2011 and 2017 shows that little progress towards Roma inclusion was made in the years between the two survey cycles in the five priority areas identified by DG NEAR: education, labor markets, health, housing and essential services, as well as documentation. .

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