Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/223985
Authors: 
Doyle, Mary-Alice
Schurer, Stefanie
Silburn, Sven
Year of Publication: 
2020
Series/Report no.: 
IZA Discussion Papers No. 13543
Abstract: 
Australia's 'income management' policy requires benefit recipients to spend at least half of their government transfers on essentials (e.g. food, housing). We estimate income management's impact on birth outcomes by exploiting its staggered rollout. By changing parents' consumption patterns, the policy aims to improve child outcomes. We find no evidence of this. Instead, our estimates suggest it reduced average birthweight by 95 grams and increased the probability of low birthweight by 3 percentage points. We explore the mechanisms that may explain this finding. Our study demonstrates how policies that are not carefully implemented and tested can unintentionally escalate existing inequalities.
Subjects: 
welfare reform
Aboriginal children
birth outcomes
income management
unintended consequences
JEL: 
D04
I14
I38
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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