School of Social and Political Sciences - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 1262
Working for everyone? Enhancing employment services for mature age jobseekers
(Brotherhood of St. Laurence, 2018)
Building on previous research about mature age workforce participation, the Enhancing employment services for mature age jobseekers study explored how jobactive employment services might better assist mature age jobseekers. The study entailed interviews with mature age jobseekers, jobactive staff and employers in four Victorian employment regions with high rates of mature age unemployment.
Improving the health of older aged care workers
(Brotherhood of St Laurence, 2019)
As part of the Working Well, Working Wisely study, researchers from the Brotherhood of St Laurence and the University of Melbourne investigated the health concerns of older workers in the aged care sector. We focused on ‘pink-collar’ workers, that is, care-related roles requiring less than a bachelor’s degree qualification.
Economic security and dignity: a financial wellbeing framework
(Brotherhood of St Laurence, 2020)
This paper proposes a financial wellbeing framework that recognises the drivers, impacts and experience of economic insecurity and is based on the concept of economic dignity. The framework builds on BSL research into economic insecurity and financial stress. It was developed through a series of workshops with BSL staff, informed by the conceptual thinking undertaken as part of the ANZ Tony Nicholson Fellowship. It will be used to guide the development of programs that directly address financial hardship among those experiencing disadvantage, and to support advocacy for government and institutional policies that create the conditions for the financial wellbeing of all Australians.
Everyone counts: uncovering patterns of Newstart Allowance
(Brotherhood of St Laurence, 2020-12-10)
Our analysis of administrative social security data aimed to gain a clearer understanding of income volatility in Australia. The focus is on unemployed and underemployed Australians who received Newstart Allowance (NSA1)—a group of individuals highly exposed to the risks of financial insecurity. Our findings highlight some significant misunderstandings about the scale, scope and conditionality of Newstart Allowance receipt. While longer-term reliance on NSA is an important policy issue, short-term reliance is underestimated. An increasing share of recipients—especially women—are facing irregular payments due to suspensions. Our analysis raises questions about the extent to which the Australian social security system is fulfilling its mission to improve the lifetime wellbeing of individuals and families. The study drew on DOMINO (Data Over Multiple Individual Occurrences), a Department of Social Services database that records all interactions with Centrelink since 2001. This daily, event-based data provides an important opportunity to track individual patterns of NSA receipt over a 16-year period (2001–2016). This baseline study is part of a larger research program investigating the relationship between income volatility and social security payments. The program involves researchers from the Australian National University, the Brotherhood of St. Laurence and RMIT University.
Towards a brighter future for low-income women
(Brotherhood of St Laurence, 2021-04-19)
The COVID-19 pandemic has been described as a women’s pandemic because of its unequal social and economic impacts. While there are some signs of recovery, the future remains uncertain, due to the unpredictability of outbreaks, uncertainty about the effectiveness of vaccines, and the complex global context. Some commentators are concerned that federal government policy is favouring austerity, which will hamper recovery and lead to increased unemployment and economic insecurity. There is also concern that proposed industrial relations legislation could undermine workers’ protections. The policy choices made will affect the lives of many, both now and into the future. Rather than austerity, investment is needed to build brighter futures for low income women and their families
Shocks and safety nets: financial wellbeing during the COVID-19 crisis
(Brotherhood of St Laurence, 2021)
We use ANZ's Financial Wellbeing Indicator, which draws on multiple questions in the continuous Roy Morgan Single Source survey. The Indicator brings together three dimensions based on Kempson and colleagues’ (2017) model of financial wellbeing. These include the ability to meet everyday commitments, feeling comfortable about one’s financial situation and resilience to financial shocks. For most people, the COVID crisis led to a decline in financial wellbeing, driven by a sharp fall in the Feeling Comfortable dimension. People with low incomes, particularly those in the workforce, faced more serious declines. For example, low-income workers showed a 21% decline in ability to Meet Commitments from the pre-COVID period to the September 2020 quarter. On the other hand, COVID-19 responses made it easier for those relying on income support to buy essentials and pay bills on time: Our findings suggest that harmful impacts from the crisis were less severe where people had access to government support as well as their own savings or other resources. Real, widespread recovery will require not only adequate social security that allows resilience but also investment in full employment and social infrastructure such as affordable housing. This report is part of the Financial Lives in Uncertain Times project. The research was made possible by the generous support of ANZ through the ANZ Tony Nicholson Fellowship and the provision under licence of Roy Morgan Single Source Survey data.
The utility of new data in understanding housing insecurity
(Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI), 2021-03-01)
• This exploratory data project investigates the potential of the DSS DOMINO dataset to support housing research and policy development. • The key difference is that DOMINO is mainly comprised of flow data which gives within year income volatility data rather than stock data which gives a single annual, or point-in-time income and labour force status data. • Demand for Commonwealth Rental Assistance (CRA) is far higher than commonly understood and there is a significant churn of individuals who receive CRA.
Expensive Childcare and Short School Days = Lower Maternal Employment and More Time in Childcare? Evidence from the American Time Use Survey.
(SAGE Publications, 2019-01-01)
This study investigates the relationship between maternal employment and state-to-state differences in childcare cost and mean school day length. Pairing state-level measures with an individual-level sample of prime working-age mothers from the American Time Use Survey (2005-2014; n = 37,993), we assess the multilevel and time-varying effects of childcare costs and school day length on maternal full-time and part-time employment and childcare time. We find mothers' odds of full-time employment are lower and part-time employment higher in states with expensive childcare and shorter school days. Mothers spend more time caring for children in states where childcare is more expensive and as childcare costs increase. Our results suggest that expensive childcare and short school days are important barriers to maternal employment and, for childcare costs, result in greater investments in childcare time. Politicians engaged in national debates about federal childcare policies should look to existing state childcare structures for policy guidance.
Gender Equality and Health in High-Income Countries: A Systematic Review of Within-Country Indicators of Gender Equality in Relation to Health Outcomes.
(Mary Ann Liebert, 2021)
Background: Gender equality is recognized as an important political, social, and economic goal in many countries around the world. At a country level, there is evidence that gender equality may have an important influence on health. Historically gender equality has mainly been measured to allow for between-country, rather than within-country comparisons; and the association between gender equality and health outcomes within countries has been under-researched. This article thus aimed to systematically review within-country indicators of gender equality in public health studies and assess the extent to which these are related to health outcomes. Materials and Methods: We used the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) approach with two independent reviewers. Results: Data from the eight included studies revealed that there was heterogeneity in the way gender equality has been measured as a multidimensional construct. Associations between gender equality and a number of different health outcomes were apparent, including mortality, mental health, morbidity, alcohol consumption, and intimate partner violence, with gender equality mostly associated with better health outcomes. Conclusions: Further investigation into the effects of gender equality on health outcomes, including a clear conceptualization of terms, is critical for the development of policies and programs regarding gender equality.
Head Start and Families' Recovery From Economic Recession: Policy Recommendations for COVID-19
This article examines whether the availability of Head Start during the Great Recession mitigated the impact of this crisis on poverty rates among families with young children.