Essays on the Economics of Welfare Policy and Well-being

Edney, Charlotte and Walker, Ian and Navarro Paniagua, Maria and O'Sullivan, Vincent (2022) Essays on the Economics of Welfare Policy and Well-being. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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The objective of this thesis is the evaluation of government policy. The first two chapters are focused on policies that affect separated families; Child Maintenance, an important source of income for separated parents, and the Lone Parent Obligation reform. Chapter 2 examines the effect of receiving child maintenance on youth behavioural and social outcomes, using new methods to assess the extent to which results are driven by selection on unobservable characteristics. The findings provide compelling estimates that, among boys, child maintenance receipt is associated with significantly fewer conduct problems and better pro-social skills. Chapter 3 evaluates the Lone Parent Obligation reform which imposed work search requirements for lone mothers with a youngest child aged 5 or 6. The findings suggest that the reform was successful in increasing maternal employment, an effect size of 8 percentage points. This was accompanied by an increase in the proportion of lone mothers who were searching for work by 9 percentage points. The results are similar across two datasets and are robust to several sensitivity checks, which add credibility to the estimates. Finally, Chapter 4 focuses on the COVID-19 pandemic and mental health in the UK. It aims to isolate the effect of being in a government imposed lockdown from the threat of the virus. The results reveal that lockdown plays a large role in explaining mental health declines, with national case and death rates also found to be important. These effects are heterogeneous across the population, with younger adults, women, and lone mothers particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of lockdown.

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Thesis (PhD)
?? child maintenancechild outcomeslone parentsactive labour market policieslone parent employmentcovid-19well-being ??
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25 Feb 2022 09:35
Last Modified:
20 Dec 2023 00:53