Child Health and Parental Responses to an Unconditional Cash Transfer at Birth

70 Pages Posted: 7 Sep 2021 Last revised: 19 May 2022

See all articles by Alexandra de Gendre

Alexandra de Gendre

The University of Melbourne, Department of Economics; University of Melbourne - ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

John Lynch

School of Public Health, University of Adelaide

Aurélie Meunier

Independent

Rhiannon Pilkington

University of Adelaide

Stefanie Schurer

The University of Sydney

Abstract

We estimate the impact on child health of the unanticipated introduction of the Australian Baby Bonus, a $3,000 one-off unconditional cash transfer at birth. Using regression discontinuity methods and linked administrative data from South Australia, we find that treated babies had fewer preventable, acute, and urgent hospital presentations—medical care available without co-payments—in the first two years of life. The payment later increased demand for elective care, which requires planning, medical referrals, and often co-payments. Our effects are strongest for disadvantaged families. Our findings suggest that up to 34% of the payout were recouped within the first year.

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

JEL Classification: I14, I38

Suggested Citation

de Gendre, Alexandra and Lynch, John and Meunier, Aurélie and Pilkington, Rhiannon and Schurer, Stefanie, Child Health and Parental Responses to an Unconditional Cash Transfer at Birth. IZA Discussion Paper No. 14693, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3917308

Alexandra De Gendre (Contact Author)

The University of Melbourne, Department of Economics ( email )

Level 4, Faculty of Business and Economics
111 Barry Street
Carlton, VIC 3010
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://https://adegendre.com

University of Melbourne - ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course ( email )

Level 2, 11 Lancaster Place
GPO Box 2702
Canberra 2609
Australia

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

John Lynch

School of Public Health, University of Adelaide

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

Aurélie Meunier

Independent ( email )

Rhiannon Pilkington

University of Adelaide ( email )

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

Stefanie Schurer

The University of Sydney ( email )

Sydney, 2006
Australia

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