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Does Welfare Reform Affect Fertility? Evidence from the UK

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  • Mike Brewer
  • Anita Ratcliffe
  • Sarah Smith

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Abstract

This paper presents evidence on the fertility effect of welfare from a set of reforms that took place in the UK in 1999 and that substantially increased support for poorer families with children. The reforms, including the introduction of the Working Families Tax Credit and an increase in means-tested income support, raised benefits by up to 10 per cent of household income. We exploit the fact that the reforms were targeted on low-income households and use a differences-in-differences approach to evaluate their impact on fertility. A priori, the fertility effect of the reforms is ambiguous because WFTC has pro-employment effects. In practice, these are more important for lone mothers and we therefore focus on women in couples where we expect the reforms to have a positive effect on births. We find that the reforms raised the probability of birth among women in couples by around 10 per cent (implying an elasticity of 0.22). In line with previous work, the effect is greatest for first births.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK in its series The Centre for Market and Public Organisation with number 07/177.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bri:cmpowp:07/177

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Keywords: Welfare reform; Fertility; Working Families Tax Credit;

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References

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  1. Kevin Milligan, 2002. "Subsidizing the Stork: New Evidence on Tax Incentives and Fertility," NBER Working Papers 8845, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Azmat, Ghazala & Gonzalez, Libertad, 2009. "Targeting Fertility and Female Participation Through the Income Tax," IZA Discussion Papers 4405, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Cygan-Rehm, Kamila, 2013. "Earnings-Dependent Parental Leave Benefit and Fertility: Evidence from Germany," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 80021, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  3. Chris Herbst, 2013. "Welfare reform and the subjective well-being of single mothers," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 203-238, January.
  4. Paul Gregg & Lindsey Macmillan, 2009. "Family Income and Education in the Next Generation: Exploring income gradients in education for current cohorts of youth," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 09/223, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  5. Dan Anderberg & Arnaud Chevalier & Jonathan Wadsworth, 2009. "Anatomy of a health scare: education, income and the MMR controversy in the UK," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 28600, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  6. Peter Haan & Katharina Wrohlich, 2009. "Can child care policy encourage employment and fertility? Evidence from a structural model," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2009-025, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  7. Jessica Todd & Paul Winters & Guy Stecklov, 2012. "Evaluating the impact of conditional cash transfer programs on fertility: the case of the Red de Protección Social in Nicaragua," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 25(1), pages 267-290, January.
  8. Ian Dey & Fran Wasoff, 2010. "Another Child? Fertility Ideals, Resources and Opportunities," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer, vol. 29(6), pages 921-940, December.
  9. REINSTADLER Anne, 2011. "Luxembourg and France: Comparable Family Benefits, Comparable Fertility Levels?," CEPS/INSTEAD Working Paper Series 2011-65, CEPS/INSTEAD.
  10. Tibor Hanappi & Sandra Müllbacher, 2012. "Tax Incentives and Family Labor Supply in Austria," NRN working papers 2012-12, The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  11. Ohinata, Asako, 2008. "Fertility Response to Financial Incentives-Evidence from the Working Families Tax Credit in the UK," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 851, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  12. Helmut Rainer & Stefan Bauernschuster & Natalia Danzer & Anita Fichtl & Timo Hener & Christian Holzner & Janina Reinkowski, 2013. "Kindergeld und Kinderfreibeträge in Deutschland: Evaluierung der Auswirkungen auf familienpolitische Ziele," Ifo Schnelldienst, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 66(09), pages 28-36, 04.

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