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A Re‐Appraisal of the Fertility Response to the Australian Baby Bonus

Author

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  • SARAH SINCLAIR
  • JONATHAN BOYMAL
  • ASHTON DE SILVA

Abstract

The Australian baby bonus offering parents $3,000 on the birth of a new child was announced on May 11 2004. The availability of five years of birth data following the introduction of the baby bonus allows for a more comprehensive analysis of the policy implications than is current in the literature. The focus of this paper is to identify if there is a positive fertility choice response to the introduction of the Australian baby bonus policy and if this response is sustained over time. To do this 19 years of birth and macroeconomic data, beginning 1990, is analysed using an unobservable components model. The results indicate a significant increase in birth numbers ten months following the announcement of the baby bonus, and this overall increase was sustained up to the end of the observed period. A cumulative growth in birth numbers which commenced in January 2006 slows in 2008 and 2009. It is suggested that the initial increase in births, identified in March 2005, is a direct fertility response to the introduction of the policy and that the subsequent change in the growth of birth numbers may be the result of a delayed effect working through a number of channels. It is estimated that approximately 119,000 births are attributable to the baby bonus over the period, at an approximate cost of $39000 per extra child.
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Suggested Citation

  • Sarah Sinclair & Jonathan Boymal & Ashton De Silva, 2012. "A Re‐Appraisal of the Fertility Response to the Australian Baby Bonus," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 88(s1), pages 78-87, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecorec:v:88:y:2012:i:s1:p:78-87
    DOI: j.1475-4932.2012.00805.x
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1475-4932.2012.00805.x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1063-1093, Nov.-Dec..
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    6. Edith Duclos & Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan, 2001. "A 'Natural Experiment' on the Economics of Storks: Evidence on the Impact of Differential Family Policy on Fertility Rates in Canada," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 136, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.
    7. Gary S. Becker & Robert J. Barro, 1988. "A Reformulation of the Economic Theory of Fertility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 103(1), pages 1-25.
    8. Kevin Milligan, 2005. "Subsidizing the Stork: New Evidence on Tax Incentives and Fertility," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(3), pages 539-555, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jérôme Adda & Christian Dustmann & Katrien Stevens, 2017. "The Career Costs of Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 125(2), pages 293-337.
    2. Gaitz, Jason & Schurer, Stefanie, 2017. "Bonus Skills: Examining the Effect of an Unconditional Cash Transfer on Child Human Capital Formation," IZA Discussion Papers 10525, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Fan Elliott & Maitra Pushkar, 2013. "Women Rule: Preferences and Fertility in Australian Households," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 13(1), pages 1-30, April.
    4. Sinclair, Sarah & Boymal, Jonathan & de Silva, Ashton J, 2012. "Is the fertility response to the Australian baby bonus heterogeneous across maternal age? Evidence from Victoria," MPRA Paper 42725, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • C22 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes
    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General

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