Is the fertility response to the Australian baby bonus heterogeneous across maternal age? Evidence from Victoria
The Australian baby bonus, offering parents $3,000 on the birth of a child, was announced on May 11 2004. The focus of this paper is to analyse the response to the policy across maternal age levels in order to separate policy effects from prevailing demographic trends such as recuperation of previously postponed births. Using multivariate time series analysis, we find that all age groups except teenagers show a positive fertility response to the policy. The results suggest that the policy may have elicited fertility behaviour change, evidenced by a higher cumulative growth in fertility of maternal age groups 20-24 and 24-30 which is sustained past 2008 even as a growth in birth ratios of older age groups was stabilising. A short term birth timing effect was also estimated to further explore the extent to which incentives matter for decisions around family formation.
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