Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 535
The Australian Economy in 2020–21: The COVID‐19 Pandemic and Prospects for Economic Recovery
This article summarises developments in the Australian economy in 2020. It describes the economic growth and labour market ramifications associated with COVID-19, and the fiscal and monetary policies implemented to help counter its effects. COVID-19 has resulted in considerable slack in an economy that was weak pre-pandemic. While current policies are appropriately focused on stimulating demand and supporting employment, existing challenges such as weak growth in productivity, gross domestic product and real wages are also likely to remain relevant post-pandemic.
Study protocol for the Healthier Wealthier Families (HWF) pilot randomised controlled trial: testing the feasibility of delivering financial counselling to families with young children who are identified as experiencing financial hardship by community-based nurses.
(BMJ Journals, 2021-05-21)
INTRODUCTION: Poverty and deprivation can harm children's future health, learning, economic productivity and societal participation. The Australian Healthier Wealthier Families project seeks to reduce the childhood inequities caused by poverty and deprivation by creating a systematic referral pathway between two free, community-based services: universal, well-child nursing services, which provide health and development support to families with children from birth to school entry, and financial counselling. By adapting the successful Scottish 'Healthier Wealthier Children' model, the objectives of this Australian pilot are to test the (1) feasibility of systematising the referral pathway, and (2) short-term impacts on household finances, caregiver health, parenting efficacy and financial service use. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: This pilot randomised controlled trial will run in three sites across two Australian states (Victoria and New South Wales), recruiting a total of 180 participants. Nurses identify eligible caregivers with a 6-item, study-designed screening survey for financial hardship. Caregivers who report one or more risk factors and consent are randomised. The intervention is financial counselling. The comparator is usual care plus information from a government money advice website. Feasibility will be evaluated using the number/proportion of caregivers who complete screening, consent and research measures, and access financial counselling. Though powered to assess feasibility, impacts will be measured 6 months post-enrolment with qualitative interviews and questionnaires about caregiver-reported income, loans and costs (adapted from national surveys, for example, the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey); health (General Health Questionnaire 1, EuroQol five-dimensional questionnaire, Depression, Anxiety, Stress Scale short-form); efficacy (from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children); and financial service use (study-designed) compared between arms. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethics committees of the Royal Children's Hospital (HREC/57372/RCHM-2019) and South West Sydney Local Health District (2019/ETH13455) have approved the study. Participants and stakeholders will receive results through regular communication channels comprising meetings, presentations and publications. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ACTRN12620000154909; prospectively registered. Pre-results.
Employment and retirement impacts on health and wellbeing among a sample of rural Australians
(BioMed Central, 2021-05-10)
BACKGROUND: In Australia, it is projected that one in four individuals will be at the nominal retirement age of 65 or over by 2056; this effect is expected to be especially pronounced in rural areas. Previous findings on the effects of retirement on wellbeing have been mixed. The present study explores the effects of employment and retirement on health and wellbeing among a sample of rural Australians. METHODS: Australian Rural Mental Health Study participants who were aged 45 or over (N = 2013) were included in a series of analyses to compare the health and wellbeing of individuals with differing employment and retirement circumstances. Self-reported outcome variables included perceived physical health and everyday functioning, financial wellbeing, mental health, relationships, and satisfaction with life. RESULTS: Across the outcomes, participants who were employed or retired generally reported better health and wellbeing than those not in the workforce. Retired participants rated more highly than employed participants on mental health, relationships, and satisfaction with life. There was also a short-term benefit for perceived financial status for retired participants compared to employed participants, but this effect diminished over time. CONCLUSIONS: While retirement is a significant life transition that may affect multiple facets of an individual's life, the direction and magnitude of these effects vary depending on the retirement context, namely the pre-retirement and concurrent circumstances within which an individual is retiring. Personal perceptions of status changes may also contribute to an individual's wellbeing more so than objective factors such as income. Policies that promote rural work/retirement opportunities and diversity and address rural disadvantage are needed.
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.
The safest time to fly: pandemic response in the era of Fox News
We document a causal effect of the conservative Fox News Channel in the USA on physical distancing during COVID-19 pandemic. We measure county-level mobility covering all US states and District of Columbia produced by GPS pings to 15-17 million smartphones and zip-code-level mobility using Facebook location data. Using the historical position of Fox News Channel in the cable lineup as the source of exogenous variation, we show that increased exposure to Fox News led to a smaller reduction in distance traveled and a smaller increase in the probability of staying home after the national emergency declaration in the USA. Our results show that slanted media can have a harmful effect on containment efforts during a pandemic by affecting people's behavior.
Association between telehealth use and general practitioner characteristics during COVID-19: findings from a nationally representative survey of Australian doctors
(BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2021-01-01)
OBJECTIVE: To investigate factors associated with the use of telehealth by general practitioners (GPs) during COVID-19. DESIGN: A nationally representative longitudinal survey study of Australian doctors analysed using regression analysis. SETTING: General practice in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic. PARTICIPANTS: 448 GPs who completed both the 11th wave (2018-2019) of the Medicine in Australia: Balancing Employment and Life (MABEL) Survey and the MABEL COVID-19 Special Online Survey (May 2020). OUTCOME MEASURES: Proportion of all consultations delivered via telephone (audio) or video (audiovisual); proportion of telehealth consultations delivered via video. RESULTS: 46.1% of GP services were provided using telehealth in early May 2020, with 6.4% of all telehealth consultations delivered via video. Higher proportions of telehealth consultations were observed in GPs in larger practices compared with solo GPs: between +0.21 (95% CI +0.07 to +0.35) and +0.28 (95% CI +0.13 to +0.44). Greater proportions of telehealth consultations were delivered through video for GPs with appropriate infrastructure and for GPs with more complex patients: +0.10 (95% CI +0.04 to +0.16) and +0.04 (95% CI +0.00 to +0.08), respectively. Lower proportions of telehealth consultations were delivered via video for GPs over 55 years old compared with GPs under 35 years old: between -0.08 (95% CI -0.02 to -0.15) and -0.15 (95% CI -0.07 to -0.22), and for GPs in postcodes with a higher proportion of patients over 65 years old: -0.005 (95% CI -0.001 to -0.008) for each percentage point increase in the population over 65 years old. CONCLUSIONS: GP characteristics are strongly associated with patterns of telehealth use in clinical work. Infrastructure support and relative pricing of different consultation modes may be useful policy instruments to encourage GPs to deliver care by the most appropriate method.
Skill and Earnings Amongst Golfers on the Southern-African Sunshine Tour
This paper estimates the determinants of the success of golfers on the Southern‐African Sunshine Tour. Using a simultaneous‐quantile regression approach and real earnings per tournament as a measure of success, a higher greens‐in‐regulation percentage and a lower number of putts per greens‐in‐regulation are associated with higher earnings. Calculations of the value of the marginal product of key golfer skills suggest a dynamic human capital acquisition process for many Sunshine Tour golfers at the earliest stages of their professional golf career.
The ATO Longitudinal Information Files (ALife): A New Resource for Retirement Policy Research
The Australian Taxation Office release of annual longitudinally linked individual tax and superannuation records, known as the ATO Longitudinal Information Files (ALife), opens up opportunities for new research. In this study, we provide an overview of ALife, focusing on its use for retirement income research. To this end, we provide the first longitudinal estimates of superannuation outcomes for 1-year birth cohorts. Results show marked increase in disparity of super balances in the lead-up to retirement as those in the top quartile ramp-up their contributions, possibly to take advantage of the favourable tax treatment of superannuation income in retirement years.
Non-Standard Employment and Wage Growth in Australia
Using data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey, and after restricting attention to employees, we observe an increase over time in the non‐standard employment share, all of which is concentrated in the period since 2009. Further, we find clear evidence that employees in non‐standard forms of employment have experienced relatively low rates of growth in hourly wages when compared with permanent full‐time employees. Nevertheless, decomposition analysis suggests that changes in workforce composition by employment type have had a very small (and insignificant) impact on the overall rate of wage growth in recent years.
The Mechanisms Underlying the Intergenerational Transmission of Disadvantage: Three Examples from Australia
The growing debate on the intergenerational transmission of disadvantage has refocused discussion on the factors that influence this intergenerational process. This study provides a short review of the central mechanisms underlying the intergenerational transmission of (dis)advantage and illustrates the importance of these mechanisms using findings from three recent studies undertaken in Australia using Australian household and administrative longitudinal data.
TM-Link: An Internationally Linked Trademark Database
This article describes a new database—TM‐Link—that contains 12 million trademark applications and registrations across six jurisdictions. A feature of the database is the identification of trademark equivalents (or families) within and across national trademark offices. Equivalent trademarks are two, or more, insignias for the same product applied for by the same company. Unlike patents, the incentive to file for global priority is comparatively weak since legal priority for trademarks is territorial. To identify the number of true trademark equivalents we therefore create synthetic links using a neural network‐based machine learning algorithm.