Browse IFS
Publication types
IFS Working Papers
November 2008 W08/09
Does welfare reform affect fertility? Evidence from the UK
Type: IFS Working Papers
Authors: Mike Brewer, Anita Ratcliffe and Sarah Smith
ISSN: 1742-0415
Volume, issue, pages: 43 pp.
JEL classification: J13, J18, H53
Keywords: Welfare reform; fertility; Working Families Tax Credit

Download BibTex file | 

In 1999 the UK government made major reforms to the system of child-contingent benefits, including the introduction of Working Families' Tax Credit and an increase in means-tested Income Support for families with children. Between 1999-2003 government spending per-child on these benefits rose by 50 per cent in real terms, a change that was unprecedented over a thirty year period. This paper examines whether there was a response in childbearing. To identify the effect of the reforms, we exploit the fact that the spending increases were targeted at low-income households and we use the (exogenously determined) education of the woman and her partner to define treatment and control groups. We argue that the reforms are most likely to have a positive fertility effect for women in couples and show that this is the case. We find that there was an increase in births (by around 15 per cent) among the group affected by the reforms.

Download full version (PDF 271 KB)


Title (or part of title)
Author surname (or part of surname)

Recent publications
View all IFS Working Papers in the series

Recent IFS Working Papers

Subscribe via one of these feeds for IFS Working Papers:
RSS feed
Atom feed