Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research - Research Publications

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    Australian Children Growing Up with Opportunity
    Kalb, G (WILEY, 2017-09-01)
    This article focuses on the early years of children in Australia. It discusses the inequality of opportunity as reflected in the statistics and the potential impacts of this inequality. A brief literature review is provided regarding the impact of formal childcare and preschool attendance on child development, with a specific focus on the impact for children from disadvantaged families. The article concludes with a discussion of possible policy directions to counteract the inequality of opportunity.
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    The role of financial factors in the mobility and location choices of General Practitioners in Australia
    McIsaac, M ; Scott, A ; Kalb, G (BioMed Central, 2019-05-24)
    Background The geographic distribution of health workers is a pervasive policy concern. Many governments are responding by introducing financial incentives to attract health care workers to locate in areas that are underserved. However, clear evidence of the effectiveness of such financial incentives is lacking. Methods This paper examines General Practitioners’ (GPs) relocation choices in Australia and proposes a dynamic location choice model accounting for both source and destination factors associated with a choice to relocate, thereby accounting for push and pull factors associated with job separation. The model is used to simulate financial incentive policies and assess potential for such policies to redistribute GPs. This paper examines the role of financial factors in relocating established GPs into neighbourhoods with relatively low socioeconomic status. The paper uses a discrete choice model and panel data on GPs’ actual changes in location from one year to the next. Results This paper finds that established GPs are not very mobile, even when a financial incentive is offered. Policy simulation predicts that 93.2% of GPs would remain at their current practice and that an additional 0.8% would be retained or would relocate in a low-socioeconomic status (SES) neighbourhood in response to a hypothetical financial incentive of a 10% increase in the earnings of all metropolitan GPs practising in low-SES neighbourhoods. Conclusion With current evidence on the effectiveness of redistribution programmes limited to newly entering GPs, the policy simulations in this paper provide an insight into the potential effectiveness of financial incentives as a redistribution policy targeting the entire GP population. Overall, the results suggest that financial considerations are part of many factors influencing the location choice of GPs. For instance, GP practice ownership played almost as important a role in mobility as earnings.
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    Childcare Use and Its Role in Indigenous Child Development: Evidence from the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children in Australia
    Azpitarte, F ; Chigavazira, A ; Kalb, G ; Farrant, BM ; Perales, F ; Zubrick, SR (Wiley, 2019-03-01)
    We investigate patterns of childcare use and its influence on the cognitive development of Indigenous children. The influence of childcare on Indigenous children's cognitive outcomes is less well understood than for non-Indigenous children due to a lack of appropriate data. We focus on a cohort of Indigenous children in Australia who have been followed from infancy and for whom rich information on childcare use and cognitive outcomes is observed. Compared to Indigenous children who never participated in childcare, Indigenous children who participated in childcare performed better on several early cognitive outcomes. Using regression and propensity score matching, we show that this difference is driven by selection into childcare, with children from more advantaged families being more likely to attend formal childcare. However, matching analysis results suggest that relatively disadvantaged children might benefit more from attending childcare, as indicated by the positive estimated effects found for those who never attended childcare.
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    Paid Parental Leave and Female Labour Supply: A Review
    Kalb, G (Wiley, 2018-03)
    This review is based on the international and Australian literature on paid parental leave. It does not aim to be exhaustive but focuses on the impact paid parental leave has on the labour force participation of mothers in developed countries. Four aspects of paid parental leave are explored, including the impacts of: introducing paid parental leave; changing the duration of existing paid parental leave; changing the generosity of existing paid parental leave payments; and paid paternity leave. It interprets the implications in the context of Australia, and includes descriptive information on the recent and current situation in Australia.
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    Public, private or both? Analyzing factors influencing the labour supply of medical specialists
    Cheng, TC ; Kalb, G ; Scott, A (WILEY, 2018-05-01)
    This paper investigates the factors influencing the allocation of time between public and private sectors by medical specialists. A discrete choice structural labour supply model is estimated, where specialists choose from a set of job packages that are characterized by the number of working hours in the public and private sectors. The results show that medical specialists respond to changes in earnings by reallocating working hours to the sector with relatively increased earnings, while leaving total working hours unchanged. The magnitudes of the own‐sector and cross‐sector hours elasticities fall in the range of 0.16–0.51. The labour supply response varies by gender, doctor’s age and medical specialty. Family circumstances such as the presence of young dependent children reduce the hours worked by female specialists but not male specialists.
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    What factors affect physicians' labour supply: Comparing structural discrete choice and reduced-form approaches
    Kalb, G ; Kuehnle, D ; Scott, A ; Cheng, TC ; Jeon, S-H (WILEY, 2018-02-01)
    Little is known about the response of physicians to changes in compensation: Do increases in compensation increase or decrease labour supply? In this paper, we estimate wage elasticities for physicians. We apply both a structural discrete choice approach and a reduced-form approach to examine how these different approaches affect wage elasticities at the intensive margin. Using uniquely rich data collected from a large sample of general practitioners (GPs) and specialists in Australia, we estimate 3 alternative utility specifications (quadratic, translog, and box-cox utility functions) in the structural approach, as well as a reduced-form specification, separately for men and women. Australian data is particularly suited for this analysis due to a lack of regulation of physicians' fees leading to variation in earnings. All models predict small negative wage elasticities for male and female GPs and specialists passing several sensitivity checks. For this high-income and long-working-hours population, the translog and box-cox utility functions outperform the quadratic utility function. Simulating the effects of 5% and 10% wage increases at the intensive margin slightly reduces the full-time equivalent supply of male GPs, and to a lesser extent of male specialists and female GPs.
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    A comparison of family policy designs of Australia and Norway using microsimulation models
    KALB, G ; Thoresen, T (Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2010)
    Many of the Australian family support schemes are income-tested transfers, targeted towards the lower end of the income distribution, whereas the Norwegian approach is to provide subsidized non-parental care services and universal family payments. We contrast these two types of policies and discuss policy changes within these policy types by presenting results from simulations, using microsimulation models developed for Australia and Norway. Labor supply effects and distributional effects are discussed for the hypothetical policy changes of replacing the means-tested family payments of Australia by the Norwegian universal child benefit schedule and vice versa, and of reducing the childcare fees in both countries. The analysis highlights that the case for policy changes is restricted by the economic environment and the role of family policy in the two countries. Whereas there is considerable potential for increased labor supply of Australian mothers, it may have detrimental distributional effects and is likely to be costly. In Norway, mothers already have high labor supply and any adverse distributional effects of further labor supply incentives occur in an economy with low initial income dispersion. However, expenditure on family support is already high and the question is whether this should be further extended. © 2009 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.
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    Nurses' labour supply elasticities: The importance of accounting for extensive margins
    Hanel, B ; Kalb, G ; Scott, A (ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV, 2014-01-01)
    We estimate a multi-sector model of nursing qualification holders' labour supply in different occupations. A structural approach allows us to model the labour force participation decision, the occupational and shift-type choice, and the decision about hours worked as a joint outcome following from maximising a utility function. Disutility from work is allowed to vary by occupation and also by shift type in the utility function. Our results suggest that average wage elasticities might be higher than previous research has found. This is mainly due to the effect of wages on the decision to enter or exit the profession, which was not included in the previous literature, rather than from its effect on increased working hours for those who already work in the profession.
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    Intergenerational correlation of labor market outcomes
    Kalb, G ; Herault, N (Springer US, 2016-03-01)
    This paper contributes to the relatively limited literature on the correlation of labor market outcomes of parents and their children. This literature is relevant to the larger literature on intergenerational income mobility since correlation in intergenerational labor market outcomes is one of the potential factors contributing to the intergenerational correlation of permanent incomes. In this paper, we consider the time spent in unemployment by both sons and daughters, while accounting for the potential endogeneity of education. Using the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia data, we find evidence of a positive correlation of labor market outcomes between fathers and sons and, to a lesser extent, between mothers and daughters. In addition, the results reveal a significant relationship between parents’ and children’s education levels, indicating that there is an indirect association of parental education with their children’s labor market outcomes through education.
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    Do Financial Incentives Influence GPs' Decisions to Do After-hours Work? A Discrete Choice Labour Supply Model
    Broadway, B ; Kalb, G ; Li, J ; Scott, A (WILEY, 2017-12-01)
    This paper analyses doctors' supply of after-hours care (AHC), and how it is affected by personal and family circumstances as well as the earnings structure. We use detailed survey data from a large sample of Australian General Practitioners (GPs) to estimate a structural, discrete choice model of labour supply and AHC. This allows us to jointly model GPs' decisions on the number of daytime-weekday working hours and the probability of providing AHC. We simulate GPs' labour supply responses to an increase in hourly earnings, both in a daytime-weekday setting and for AHC. GPs increase their daytime-weekday working hours if their hourly earnings in this setting increase, but only to a very small extent. GPs are somewhat more likely to provide AHC if their hourly earnings in that setting increase, but again, the effect is very small and only evident in some subgroups. Moreover, higher earnings in weekday-daytime practice reduce the probability of providing AHC, particularly for men. Increasing GPs' earnings appears to be at best relatively ineffective in encouraging increased provision of AHC and may even prove harmful if incentives are not well targeted.