Who benefits from Child Benefit?
Over much of the developed world governments make significant financial transfers to parents with dependent children. For example, in the US the recently introduced Child Tax Credit (CTC), which goes to almost all children, costs almost $1billion each week, or about 0.4% of GNP. The UK has even more generous transfers and spends about $25 a week on each of about 8 million children – about 1% of GNP. The typical rationale given for these transfers is that they are good for our children and here we investigate the effect on household spending patterns. The UK is an excellent laboratory to address this issue because such transfers, known as Child Benefit (CB), were simple lump sum universal payments for a period of more than 20 years. We do indeed find that CB is spent differently from other income – paradoxically, it appears to be spent disproportionately on adult-assignable goods. In fact we estimate that more than half of a marginal pound of CB is spent on alcohol. We resolve the puzzle by showing that the effect is confined to unanticipated variation in CB so we infer that parents are sufficiently altruistic towards their children that they completely insure them against shocks
|Date of creation:||2006|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: CV4 7AL COVENTRY|
Phone: +44 (0) 2476 523202
Fax: +44 (0) 2476 523032
Web page: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- John Micklewright, 2003.
"Child Poverty in English-Speaking Countries,"
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- Janet Currie, 1994. "Welfare and the Well-Being of Children: The Relative Effectiveness of Cash and In-Kind Transfers," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 8, pages 1-44 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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- Keen, Michael, 1986. "Zero Expenditures and the Estimation of Engel Curves," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 1(3), pages 277-286, July.
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