Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research - Research Publications
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ItemWelfare Receipt and the Intergenerational Transmission of Work-Welfare NormsBarón, JD ; Cobb-Clark, DA ; Erkal, N (Wiley, 2015)This article investigates the role of welfare receipt in shaping norms regarding work and welfare using unique Australian data from the Youth in Focus Project. We begin by incorporating welfare into a theoretical model of the transmission of work-welfare norms across generations. Consistent with the predictions of this model, we find evidence that youths' attitudes toward work and welfare may be influenced by socialization within their families. Young people are more likely to oppose generous social benefits and to believe that social inequality stems from individual characteristics if (i) their mothers support these views; (ii) their mothers were employed while they were growing up; and (iii) their families never received welfare. Finally, youths' work-welfare norms appear to be unrelated to their neighbors' welfare receipt suggesting that socialization occurs primarily within families rather than within neighborhoods.
ItemParents' economic support of young-adult children: Do socioeconomic circumstances matter?Cobb-Clark, DA ; Gorgens, T (Springer, 2014)We assess how the support parents provide to young adults as they leave school and begin working is related to their family’s socioeconomic circumstances. We do this using an innovative Australian data set which merges survey and administrative data. The survey data inform us about intergenerational co-residence and financial gifts and the administrative data about the family’s welfare-receipt history. We find that disadvantaged young people are more likely to be economically independent of their parents than are their more advantaged peers. This disparity is larger for financial gifts than for co-residence and increases with age. Moreover, there is a complex relationship between parental support and participation in study and work. We find no evidence, however, that a lack of parental support is the source of the socioeconomic gradient in either studying or employment. These results are important in eliminating one potential pathway through which socioeconomic disadvantage limits young people’s outcomes.
ItemGender Gaps in Early Educational AchievementMOSCHION, J ; Cobb-Clark, D (Springer Nature, 2017-10)This paper analyzes the source of the gender gap in third-grade numeracy and reading. We adopt an Oaxaca-Blinder approach and decompose the gender gap in educational achievement into endowment and response components. Our estimation relies on unusually rich panel data from the Longitudinal Survey of Australian Children in which information on child development reported by parents and teachers is linked to each child’s results on a national, standardized achievement test. We find that girls in low- and middle-socio-economic-status (SES) families have an advantage in reading, while boys in high-SES families have an advantage in numeracy. Girls score higher on their third-grade reading tests in large part because they were more ready for school at age 4 and had better teacher-assessed literacy skills in kindergarten. Boys’ advantage in numeracy occurs because they achieve higher numeracy test scores than girls with the same education-related characteristics.
ItemSickness absence and mental health: evidence from a nationally representative longitudinal surveyWooden, M ; Bubonya, M ; Cobb-Clark, D (SCANDINAVIAN JOURNAL WORK ENVIRONMENT & HEALTH, 2016-05-01)OBJECTIVES: Previous studies have consistently reported evidence of large significant associations between measures of psychological health and sickness absence. Some of this association, however, may be confounded by relevant covariates that have not been controlled. By using data with repeated observations from the same individuals, this study aimed to quantify the bias due to unobserved characteristics that are time invariant. METHODS: Longitudinal data from the Household, Income, and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey were used to estimate negative binomial regression models of the number of annual paid sickness absence days. Observations spanning the period 2005-2012, and covering all employed persons aged 15-64 years, were used (56 348 observations from 13 622 individuals). RESULTS: Significant associations between the number of paid sickness absence days taken each year and scores on the mental health subscale of the SF-36 (MHI-5) were found. Inclusion of correlated random effects (which effectively control for unobserved person-specific factors that do not vary over time), however, resulted in a marked decline in the magnitude of this association. For persons with severe depressive symptoms (MHI-5 ≤52), the estimated incidence rate ratios were in the range 1.13-1.14 for men and 1.10-1.12 for women. CONCLUSIONS: Poor mental health is a risk factor affecting work attendance, but the magnitude of this effect, at least in a country where the rate of sickness absence is relatively low, is modest.
ItemMental health and productivity at work: Does what you do matter?Bubonya, M ; Cobb-Clark, DA ; Wooden, M (Elsevier, 2017-06)
ItemChildhood homelessness and adult employment: the role of education, incarceration, and welfare receiptCobb-Clark, DA ; Zhu, A (Springer Nature, 2017-07-01)This paper examines the long-run employment consequences of experiencing homelessness in childhood rather than later in life. We use novel panel data that link survey and administrative data for a sample of disadvantaged adults who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Our estimation approach pays particular attention to the potential pathways linking childhood homelessness to adult employment. We find that those experiencing homelessness for the first time as children are less likely to be employed. For women, this relationship is largely explained by the lower educational attainment and higher welfare receipt (both in general and in the form of mental illness-related disability payments) of those experiencing childhood homelessness. Higher rates of high school incompletion and incarceration explain some of the link between childhood homelessness and men’s employment; however, childhood homelessness continues to have a substantial direct effect on male employment rates.
ItemA Family Affair: Job Loss and the Mental Health of Spouses and AdolescentsBubonya, M ; Cobb-Clark, D ; WOODEN, M (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne, 2014)