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Does welfare reform affect fertility? Evidence from the UK

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  • Mike Brewer
  • Anita Ratcliffe
  • Sarah dSmith

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Abstract

This paper provides evidence on the effect of welfare reform on fertility, focusing on UK reforms in 1999 that increased per-child spending by 50% in real terms. We use a difference-in-differences approach, exploiting the fact that the reforms were targeted at low-income households. The reforms were likely to differentially affect the fertility of women in couples and single women because of the opportunity cost effects of the welfare-to-work element. We find no increase in births among single women, but evidence to support an increase in births (by around 15%) among coupled women. Copyright Springer-Verlag 2012

Suggested Citation

  • Mike Brewer & Anita Ratcliffe & Sarah dSmith, 2012. "Does welfare reform affect fertility? Evidence from the UK," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 25(1), pages 245-266, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:25:y:2012:i:1:p:245-266
    DOI: 10.1007/s00148-010-0332-x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Welfare reform; Fertility; J13; J18; H53;

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs

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