Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research - Research Publications

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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, J (Melbourne Institute, The University of Melbourne, 2017-07)
    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.