IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/21101.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Child Cash Benefits and Family Expenditures: Evidence from the National Child Benefit

Author

Listed:
  • Lauren E. Jones
  • Kevin S. Milligan
  • Mark Stabile

Abstract

A vast literature has examined the impact of family income on the health and development outcomes of children. Income may improve child outcomes through two mechanisms. First, income may improve development outcomes if it improves a family’s ability to purchase direct inputs into child education and health production such as reading material, educational equipment, and health care. Second, by reducing stress and conflict, additional income helps to foster an environment more conducive to healthy child development, regardless of the nature of specific expenditures. In this paper, we exploit changes in refundable tax benefit income in Canada to study these questions. Importantly, our approach allows us to make stronger causal inferences than has been possible in existing studies. Using variation in child benefits across province, time, and family type, we study expenditure patterns of families receiving child benefits. Our findings suggest that additional income may improve outcomes through both mechanisms: some benefit income is spent on direct education and health inputs, while some is spent on everyday items likely to improve the general conditions children face. Additionally, some families reduce spending on risky behavior items. Spending responses to benefit generosity appear to vary by income.

Suggested Citation

  • Lauren E. Jones & Kevin S. Milligan & Mark Stabile, 2015. "Child Cash Benefits and Family Expenditures: Evidence from the National Child Benefit," NBER Working Papers 21101, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:21101
    Note: CH PE
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w21101.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Lauren E. Jones & Katherine Michelmore, 2018. "The Impact of the Earned Income Tax Credit on Household Finances," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 37(3), pages 521-545, June.
    2. Gordon B. Dahl & Lance Lochner, 2012. "The Impact of Family Income on Child Achievement: Evidence from the Earned Income Tax Credit," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(5), pages 1927-1956, August.
    3. James G. MacKinnon & Matthew D. Webb, 2018. "The wild bootstrap for few (treated) clusters," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 21(2), pages 114-135, June.
    4. Nicholas S. Souleles & Jonathan A. Parker & David S. Johnson, 2006. "Household Expenditure and the Income Tax Rebates of 2001," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1589-1610, December.
    5. A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach & Douglas L. Miller, 2008. "Bootstrap-Based Improvements for Inference with Clustered Errors," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 414-427, August.
    6. Tzu-Ting Yang, 2018. "Family Labor Supply and the Timing of Cash Transfers: Evidence from the Earned Income Tax Credit," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 53(2), pages 445-473.
    7. Janet Currie & Jonathan Gruber, 1996. "Health Insurance Eligibility, Utilization of Medical Care, and Child Health," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 431-466.
    8. Baugh, Brian & Ben-David, Itzhak & Park, Hoonsuk, 2013. "Disentangling Financial Constraints, Precautionary Savings, and Myopia: Household Behavior Surrounding Federal Tax Returns," Working Paper Series 2013-20, Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.
    9. Christopher D. Carroll & Thomas F. Crossley & John Sabelhaus, 2015. "Improving the Measurement of Consumer Expenditures," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number carr11-1, June.
    10. Hilary Hoynes & Doug Miller & David Simon, 2015. "Income, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and Infant Health," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 172-211, February.
    11. Alberto Abadie & Susan Athey & Guido Imbens & Jeffrey Wooldridge, 2017. "When Should You Adjust Standard Errors for Clustering?," Papers 1710.02926, arXiv.org, revised May 2022.
    12. Milligan, Kevin & Stabile, Mark, 2007. "The integration of child tax credits and welfare: Evidence from the Canadian National Child Benefit program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1-2), pages 305-326, February.
    13. Andrew Goodman-Bacon & Leslie McGranahan, 2008. "How do EITC recipients spend their refunds?," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, vol. 32(Q II), pages 17-32.
    14. Sumit Agarwal & Chunlin Liu & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2007. "The Reaction of Consumer Spending and Debt to Tax Rebates-Evidence from Consumer Credit Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(6), pages 986-1019, December.
    15. James G. MacKinnon & Matthew D. Webb, 2018. "The wild bootstrap for few (treated) clusters," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 21(2), pages 114-135, June.
    16. Jonathan Gruber, 2009. "The Problems of Disadvantaged Youth: An Economic Perspective," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number grub07-2, June.
    17. Carroll, Christopher D. & Crossley, Thomas F. & Sabelhaus, John (ed.), 2015. "Improving the Measurement of Consumer Expenditures," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, number 9780226126654, July.
    18. Matthew D. Shapiro & Joel Slemrod, 2003. "Did the 2001 Tax Rebate Stimulate Spending? Evidence from Taxpayer Surveys," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 17, pages 83-110, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Garry Barrett & Peter Levell & Kevin Milligan, 2014. "A Comparison of Micro and Macro Expenditure Measures across Countries Using Differing Survey Methods," NBER Chapters, in: Improving the Measurement of Consumer Expenditures, pages 263-286, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Kathleen Day & Stanley Winer, 2006. "Policy-induced internal migration: An empirical investigation of the Canadian case," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 13(5), pages 535-564, September.
    21. Shawn A. Cole & John Thompson & Peter Tufano, 2008. "Where Does it Go? Spending by the Financially Constrained," Harvard Business School Working Papers 08-083, Harvard Business School, revised Apr 2008.
    22. Reagan Baughman & Stacy Dickert-Conlin, 2009. "The earned income tax credit and fertility," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 22(3), pages 537-563, July.
    23. Kevin Milligan & Mark Stabile, 2009. "Child Benefits, Maternal Employment, and Children's Health: Evidence from Canadian Child Benefit Expansions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 128-132, May.
    24. David Roodman & James G. MacKinnon & Morten Ørregaard Nielsen & Matthew D. Webb, 2019. "Fast and wild: Bootstrap inference in Stata using boottest," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 19(1), pages 4-60, March.
    25. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-In-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275.
    26. Paul Gregg & Susan Harkness & Sarah Smith, 2009. "Welfare Reform and Lone Parents in the UK," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(535), pages 38-65, February.
    27. Kevin Milligan & Mark Stabile, 2011. "Do Child Tax Benefits Affect the Well-Being of Children? Evidence from Canadian Child Benefit Expansions," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 175-205, August.
    28. Marianne Bertrand & Adair Morse, 2016. "Trickle-Down Consumption," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 98(5), pages 863-879, December.
    29. Barrow, Lisa & McGranahan, Leslie, 2000. "The Effects of the Earned Income Credit on the Seasonality of Household Expenditures," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 53(4), pages 1211-1244, December.
    30. Janet Currie & Mark Stabile & Phongsack Manivong & Leslie L. Roos, 2010. "Child Health and Young Adult Outcomes," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(3).
    31. Leslie McGranahan & Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, 2013. "The Earned Income Tax Credit and Food Consumption Patterns," Working Paper Series WP-2013-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    32. Matthew D. Shapiro & Joel Slemrod, 2009. "Did the 2008 Tax Rebates Stimulate Spending?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 374-379, May.
    33. Gregg, Paul & Waldfogel, Jane & Washbrook, Elizabeth, 2006. "Family expenditures post-welfare reform in the UK: Are low-income families starting to catch up?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(6), pages 721-746, December.
    34. Jonah B. Gelbach, 2004. "Migration, the Life Cycle, and State Benefits: How Low Is the Bottom?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(5), pages 1091-1130, October.
    35. James G. MacKinnon & Matthew D. Webb, 2019. "Wild Bootstrap Randomization Inference for Few Treated Clusters," Advances in Econometrics, in: Kim P. Huynh & David T. Jacho-chávez & Gautam Tripathi (ed.), The Econometrics of Complex Survey Data, volume 39, pages 61-85, Emerald Publishing Ltd.
    36. Davidson, Russell & MacKinnon, James G., 2010. "Wild Bootstrap Tests for IV Regression," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 28(1), pages 128-144.
    37. Raj Chetty & Nathaniel Hendren & Lawrence F. Katz, 2016. "The Effects of Exposure to Better Neighborhoods on Children: New Evidence from the Moving to Opportunity Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(4), pages 855-902, April.
    38. Shelly J. Lundberg & Robert A. Pollak & Terence J. Wales, 1997. "Do Husbands and Wives Pool Their Resources? Evidence from the United Kingdom Child Benefit," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(3), pages 463-480.
    39. 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.
    40. Barrow, Lisa & McGranahan, Leslie, 2000. "The Effects of the Earned Income Credit on the Seasonality of Household Expenditures," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 4), pages 1211-44, December.
    41. Nicholas S. Souleles, 1999. "The Response of Household Consumption to Income Tax Refunds," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 947-958, September.
    42. repec:hrv:faseco:30367426 is not listed on IDEAS
    43. Hilary W. Hoynes & Ankur J. Patel, 2015. "Effective Policy for Reducing Inequality? The Earned Income Tax Credit and the Distribution of Income," NBER Working Papers 21340, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    44. Christopher D. Carroll & Thomas F. Crossley & John Sabelhaus, 2014. "Introduction to "Improving the Measurement of Consumer Expenditures"," NBER Chapters, in: Improving the Measurement of Consumer Expenditures, pages 1-20, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    45. Janet Currie & Valentina Duque & Irwin Garfinkel, 2015. "The Great Recession and Mothers' Health," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 125(588), pages 311-346, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Elizabeth M. Caucutt & Lance Lochner & Youngmin Park, 2017. "Correlation, Consumption, Confusion, or Constraints: Why Do Poor Children Perform so Poorly?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 119(1), pages 102-147, January.
    2. Mari, Gabriele & Keizer, Renske, 2021. "Do high-income households 'label' family cash transfers? Evidence on family expenditures from Australia," SocArXiv ucyzb, Center for Open Science.
    3. Hansoo Ko & Renata E. Howland & Sherry A. Glied, 2020. "The Effects of Income on Children’s Health: Evidence from Supplemental Security Income Eligibility under New York State Medicaid," NBER Working Papers 26639, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Peter Burton & Shelley Phipps, 2017. "Economic Well-Being of Canadian Children," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 43(4), pages 299-330, December.
    5. Elizabeth M. Caucutt & Lance Lochner, 2020. "Early and Late Human Capital Investments, Borrowing Constraints, and the Family," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 128(3), pages 1065-1147.
    6. Lebihan, Laetitia & Mao Takongmo, Charles-Olivier, 2018. "The impact of universal child benefits on family health and behaviours," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(4), pages 415-427.
    7. Tedds, Lindsay M. & Crisan, I. Daria & Petit, Gillian, 2020. "Basic Income in Canada: Principles and Design Features," MPRA Paper 105911, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Musab Kurnaz & Terry A. Yip, 2022. "The Canadian income taxation: Statistical analysis and parametric estimates," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 55(1), pages 272-311, February.
    9. Wang, Julia Shu-Huah & Zhang, Jinbao & Fu, Tsung-Hsi, 2021. "The effects of universal child allowance on family expenditure in Taiwan," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 129(C).
    10. Mari, Gabriele & Keizer, Renske, 2020. "Families of Austerity: Welfare Cuts and Family Stress in Britain," SocArXiv vdej8, Center for Open Science.
    11. Smith-Carrier Tracy A & Green Steven, 2017. "Another Low Road to Basic Income? Mapping a Pragmatic Model for Adopting a Basic Income in Canada," Basic Income Studies, De Gruyter, vol. 12(2), pages 1-21, December.
    12. Randall Akee & William Copeland & E. Jane Costello & Emilia Simeonova, 2018. "How Does Household Income Affect Child Personality Traits and Behaviors?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 108(3), pages 775-827, March.
    13. Kourtney Koebel & Tammy Schirle, 2016. "The Differential Impact of Universal Child Benefits on the Labour Supply of Married and Single Mothers," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 42(1), pages 49-64, March.
    14. Melanie E. Guldi & Amelia Hawkins & Jeffrey Hemmeter & Lucie Schmidt, 2018. "Supplemental Security Income and Child Outcomes: Evidence from Birth Weight Eligibility Cutoffs," Department of Economics Working Papers 2018-12, Department of Economics, Williams College.
    15. Green, David & Kesselman, Jonathan Rhys & Tedds, Lindsay M., 2021. "Covering All the Basics: Reforms for a More Just Society," MPRA Paper 105902, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Claire McCartan & Aine Morrison & Lisa Bunting & Gavin Davidson & Jackie McIlroy, 2018. "Stripping the Wallpaper of Practice: Empowering Social Workers to Tackle Poverty," Social Sciences, MDPI, vol. 7(10), pages 1-16, October.
    17. Natasha Pilkauskas & Katherine Michelmore, 2017. "Does the Earned Income Tax Credit Reduce Housing Instability?," Working Papers wp18-01-ff, Princeton University, School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Kevin Milligan & Mark Stabile, 2011. "Do Child Tax Benefits Affect the Well-Being of Children? Evidence from Canadian Child Benefit Expansions," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 175-205, August.
    2. James G. MacKinnon, 2019. "How cluster-robust inference is changing applied econometrics," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 52(3), pages 851-881, August.
    3. Christopher S. Carpenter & Gilbert Gonzales Jr. & Tara McKay & Dario Sansone, 2020. "Effects of the Affordable Care Act Dependent Coverage Mandate on Health Insurance Coverage for Individuals in Same-Sex Couples," NBER Working Papers 26978, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Dorner, Matthias & Görlitz, Katja, 2020. "Training, wages and a missing school graduation cohort," IAB-Discussion Paper 202028, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    5. Matthew D. Webb & James MacKinnon & Morten Nielsen, 2021. "Cluster–robust inference: A guide to empirical practice," Economics Virtual Symposium 2021 6, Stata Users Group.
    6. Wang, Julia Shu-Huah & Zhang, Jinbao & Fu, Tsung-Hsi, 2021. "The effects of universal child allowance on family expenditure in Taiwan," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 129(C).
    7. James G. MacKinnon & Morten Ørregaard Nielsen & Matthew D. Webb, 2020. "Testing for the appropriate level of clustering in linear regression models," Working Paper 1428, Economics Department, Queen's University.
    8. Bastian, Jacob E. & Jones, Maggie R., 2021. "Do EITC expansions pay for themselves? Effects on tax revenue and government transfers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 196(C).
    9. Doremus, Jacqueline, 2019. "Unintended impacts from forest certification: Evidence from indigenous Aka households in Congo," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 166(C), pages 1-1.
    10. García-Ramos, Aixa, 2021. "Divorce laws and intimate partner violence: Evidence from Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 150(C).
    11. Jonathan A. Parker & Nicholas S. Souleles & David S. Johnson & Robert McClelland, 2013. "Consumer Spending and the Economic Stimulus Payments of 2008," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(6), pages 2530-2553, October.
    12. Damian Clarke & Kathya Tapia-Schythe, 2021. "Implementing the panel event study," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 21(4), pages 853-884, December.
    13. James G. MacKinnon & Morten Ørregaard Nielsen & Matthew D. Webb, 2021. "Wild Bootstrap and Asymptotic Inference With Multiway Clustering," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(2), pages 505-519, March.
    14. David Neumark & Katherine E. Williams, 2020. "Do State Earned Income Tax Credits Increase Participation in the Federal EITC?," NBER Working Papers 27626, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. James G. MacKinnon & Matthew D. Webb, 2020. "When and How to Deal with Clustered Errors in Regression Models," Working Paper 1421, Economics Department, Queen's University.
    16. Leslie McGranahan, 2016. "Tax Credits and the Debt Position of U.S. Households," Working Paper Series WP-2016-12, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    17. Kathryn Vasilaky & Sofía Martínez Sáenz & Radost Stanimirova & Daniel Osgood, 2020. "Perceptions of Farm Size Heterogeneity and Demand for Group Index Insurance," Games, MDPI, vol. 11(1), pages 1-21, March.
    18. Boyd-Swan, Casey & Herbst, Chris M. & Ifcher, John & Zarghamee, Homa, 2016. "The earned income tax credit, mental health, and happiness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 126(PA), pages 18-38.
    19. Otto Lenhart, 2019. "The effects of income on health: new evidence from the Earned Income Tax Credit," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 377-410, June.
    20. Sumit Agarwal & Dan Aaronson & Eric French, 2008. "The Consumption Response to Minimum Wage Hikes," 2008 Meeting Papers 379, Society for Economic Dynamics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:21101. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.