Working Paper
Formalizing safety nets and the requirements to obtain them

An increased role for identity documents in the Global South

Having a birth certificate is a stepping stone to acquiring an array of rights and benefits, including other documents necessary to navigate in and outside of one’s home country. Despite its importance, many children in the developing world never obtain a birth certificate. Whether one does so or not often depends on ethnicity, race, gender, and age.

This working paper examines some of the crucial causes and consequences of not acquiring this key document. It also underscores what governments can do, if political will exists, to facilitate the process of birth registration and certification among citizens.