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The Contribution of Recent Increases in Family Benefits to Australia's Early 21st Century Fertility Increase: An Empirical Analysis

6th January 2011 3pm, University of Southampton 58/1009

Nick Parr, Macquarie University

Following forty years of almost continual decrease, between 2001 and 2008 Australia's total fertility increased from 1.73 to 1.97. The increase overlapped with a series of changes to family-related benefits which were designed primarily to provide financial assistance to families, but for which pronatalist intent was also apparent. The more significant changes were the introduction of a universal, flat-rate payment to parents of new-born children and an increased subsidisation of child care. This paper analyses recent individual-level fertility patterns in Australia, using data from a large-scale longitudinal survey and focusing on the effects of changes to family benefits. The effects of macroeconomic variables, entitlements to family-friendly working conditions, and socioeconomic and demographic characteristics also are considered.