Baby Bonuses and Early-Life Health Outcomes: Using Regression Discontinuity to Evaluate the Causal Impact of an Unconditional Cash Transfer

53 Pages Posted: 21 May 2019

See all articles by John Lynch

John Lynch

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Aurélie Meunier

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Rhiannon Pilkington

University of Adelaide

Stefanie Schurer

University of Sydney

Date Written: March 2019

Abstract

We use administrative data from South Australia to study the impact of an unconditional cash transfer on child health. We use the unanticipated introduction of the Australian Baby Bonus (ABB), a one-off payment of AU$3,000 (US$2,400) made to families with a newborn, to isolate its causal effect. The ABB reduces the number of potentially preventable hospitalizations and emergency department presentations for respiratory problems in the first year of life. Findings from survey data suggest that households spent the windfall income on electricity and private health insurance. There is no robust evidence that the ABB increased accidents or non-essential good consumption.

Keywords: unconditional cash transfers, baby bonus, child respiratory health, health care utilization, regression discontinuity design, natural experiment, linked administrative data

JEL Classification: I14, I38

Suggested Citation

Lynch, John and Meunier, Aurélie and Pilkington, Rhiannon and Schurer, Stefanie, Baby Bonuses and Early-Life Health Outcomes: Using Regression Discontinuity to Evaluate the Causal Impact of an Unconditional Cash Transfer (March 2019). IZA Discussion Paper No. 12230. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3390219

John Lynch

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Aurélie Meunier

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

Rhiannon Pilkington

University of Adelaide ( email )

No 233 North Terrace, School of Commerce
Adelaide, 5005
Australia

Stefanie Schurer (Contact Author)

University of Sydney ( email )

Sydney, 2006
Australia

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