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A Couples-based Approach to the Problem of Workless Families

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  • Deborah Cobb-Clark

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  • Chris Ryan
  • Robert Breunig

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Abstract

The goal of this paper is to evaluate a “couples-based” policy intervention designed to reduce the number of Australian families without work. In 2000 and 2001, the Australian Government piloted a new counseling initiative targeted towards couple-headed families with dependent children in which neither partner was in paid employment. Selected women on family benefits (who were partnered with men receiving unemployment benefits) were randomly invited to participate in an interview process designed to identify strategies for increasing economic and social participation. While some women were interviewed on their own, others participated in a joint interview with their partners. Our results indicate that the overall effect of the interview process led to lower hours of work among family benefit recipients in the intervention group than the control group, but to greater participation and hours in job search and in study or training for work-related reasons. Whether women were interviewed with their partner or not had no effect on the level of economic and social activity of participants.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics in its series ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics with number 2005-454.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:acb:cbeeco:2005-454

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  1. James Heckman & Jeffrey Smith & Christopher Taber, 1998. "Accounting For Dropouts In Evaluations Of Social Programs," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(1), pages 1-14, February.
  2. Peter Dawkins & Paul Gregg & Rosanna Scutella, 2002. "Employment Polarisation in Australia," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2002n09, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  3. Rajeev H. Dehejia & Sadek Wahba, 2002. "Propensity score matching methods for non-experimental causal studies," Discussion Papers 0102-14, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  4. Paul W. Miller, 1997. "The Burden of Unemployment on Family Units: An Overview," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 30(1), pages 16-30.
  5. Peter Dawkins & Paul Gregg & Rosanna Scutella, 2001. "The Growth of Jobless Households in Australia," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2001n03, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  6. Heckman, James J & Ichimura, Hidehiko & Todd, Petra E, 1997. "Matching as an Econometric Evaluation Estimator: Evidence from Evaluating a Job Training Programme," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(4), pages 605-54, October.
  7. Thierry Kamionka & Guy Lacroix, 2003. "Assessing the Impact of Non-Response on the Treatment Effect in the Canadian Self-Sufficiency Experiment," Working Papers 2003-37, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  8. Paul Gregg, 1996. "It Takes Two: Employment Polarisation in the OECD," CEP Discussion Papers dp0304, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  9. Burt S Barnow, 2000. "Exploring the relationship between performance management and program impact: A case study of the job training partnership act," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(1), pages 118-141.
  10. Davies, Richard B & Elias, Peter & Penn, Roger, 1992. "The Relationship between a Husband's Unemployment and His Wife's Participation in the Labour Force," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 54(2), pages 145-71, May.
  11. Heckman, James J. & Lalonde, Robert J. & Smith, Jeffrey A., 1999. "The economics and econometrics of active labor market programs," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 31, pages 1865-2097 Elsevier.
  12. Israel, Mark & Seeborg, Michael, 1998. "The impact of youth characteristics and experiences on transitions out of poverty," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 753-776.
  13. Andrew Dilnot & Michael Kell, 1987. "Male unemployment and women's work," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 8(3), pages 1-16, August.
  14. repec:nsr:niesrd:72 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Breunig, Robert & Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Dunlop, Yvonne & Terrill, Marion, 2002. "Assisting the Long-Term Unemployed: Results from a Randomized Trial," IZA Discussion Papers 628, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  16. Robert Haveman & Barbara Wolfe, 1995. "The Determinants of Children's Attainments: A Review of Methods and Findings," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1829-1878, December.
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