Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research - Research Publications

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    Literature review on the impact of welfare policy design on children and youth
    Broadway, B ; LoRiggio, T ; Ryan, C ; Zhu, A (WILEY, 2021-10-13)
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    The Impact of Paid Parental Leave on Labor Supply and Employment Outcomes in Australia
    Broadway, B ; Kalb, G ; McVicar, D ; Martin, B (ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2020-03-19)
    The introduction of the Australian Paid Parental Leave scheme in 2011 provides a rare opportunity to estimate the impacts of publicly funded paid leave on mothers in the first year postpartum. The almost universal coverage of the scheme, coupled with detailed survey data collected specifically for the scheme’s evaluation, means that eligibility for paid leave under the scheme can be plausibly taken as exogenous, following a standard propensity score-matching exercise. Consistent with much of the existing literature, the study finds a positive impact on mothers’ taking leave in the first half year and on mothers’ probability of returning to work in the first year. The paper provides new evidence of a positive impact on continuing in the same job under the same conditions, where previous conclusions have been mixed. Further, it shows that disadvantaged mothers – low income, less educated, without access to employer-funded leave – respond most.
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    Introduction
    Broadway, B (WILEY, 2021-06-01)
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    Introduction
    Broadway, B (WILEY, 2021-03-01)
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    Behind closed doors: the surge in mental distress of parents
    Broadway, B ; Mendez, S ; Moschion, J (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, 2020-08-01)
    The economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent restrictions has had an alarming effect on Australians' mental health. Particularly worrying is the increase in high mental distress among parents, especially among non-employed fathers and parents of primary school aged children. Financial stress and work-family conflict tend to be the two major sources of mental distress for parents. Using data from the Melbourne Institute's Taking the Pulse of the Nation survey and the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey, this Research Insight examines the surge in mental distress in parents compared to pre-COVID. The study identifies who has been most impacted, looking at how it impacts mothers and fathers, and how employment status and the age of the child can influence mental distress.
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    Help! High Levels of Parents’ Mental Distress
    Broadway, B ; Moschion, J ; Mendez, S (Melbourne Institute, The University of Melbourne, 2020-12-01)
    Of the close to 5 million parents with children under 18 in Australia, 24 percent have reported high rates of mental distress since the start of the pandemic. This has persisted well beyond the end of local lockdowns.
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    Keep calm and consume? Subjective uncertainty and precautionary savings
    Broadway, B ; Haisken-DeNew, JP (Springer (part of Springer Nature), 2019-07)
    This paper estimates the effect of income uncertainty on assets held in accounts and cash, and finds substantial empirical evidence for precautionary savings. Using household-level panel data, it explicitly distinguishes between ‘real’ income uncertainty the household is actually exposed to, and ‘perceived’ income uncertainty. It finds that the latter substantially increases precautionary savings above and beyond the effect of ‘real’ income uncertainty. The effect of subjective economic uncertainty on behaviour has only begun to show up after the Great Recession. The economic crisis appears to have shifted households’ willingness to forgo current consumption for insurance pruposes. Our results imply that households save above their optimal level especially after and during a crisis, potentially exacerbating the economic downturn.
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    Probing the Effect of the Australian System of Minimum Wages on the Gender Wage Gap
    Broadway, B ; Wilkins, R (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, 2017-12-04)
    When wage setting is more regulated, the gender wage gap tends to decrease. We examine whether this holds for a complex system of occupation- and industry-specific minimum wages, which cover both low-pay and high-pay segments of the labour market. The system has the potential to close the gender wage gap by ensuring equal minimum pay for equal jobs, but i also has the potential to widen it by discriminating against jobs more commonly held by women. We carefully describe wage levels as well as returns to experience and their association with individual gender as well as the male employment share in the individual’s field (industry or occupation) of work. We find that the gender wage gap among employees receiving a minimum wage is less than half the magnitude of the gap among other employees. Despite this, there is nonetheless evidence that, within the minimum-wage system, there is a wage penalty for employment in jobs more commonly held by women, although only for employees without university degrees. Our results suggest that, for university-educated women, the regulated setting of minimum wages helps to close the gender wage gap and counteracts the undervaluation of work typically undertaken by women. However, for less-educated women, who comprise approximately 82% of female minimum-wage employees, minimum wages could do more to close the gender wage gap if they were neutral with respect to the gender composition of jobs.