Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 245–266

Does welfare reform affect fertility? Evidence from the UK

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00148-010-0332-x

Cite this article as:
Brewer, M., Ratcliffe, A. & dSmith, S. J Popul Econ (2012) 25: 245. doi:10.1007/s00148-010-0332-x


This paper provides evidence on the effect of welfare reform on fertility, focusing on UK reforms in 1999 that increased per-child spending by 50% in real terms. We use a difference-in-differences approach, exploiting the fact that the reforms were targeted at low-income households. The reforms were likely to differentially affect the fertility of women in couples and single women because of the opportunity cost effects of the welfare-to-work element. We find no increase in births among single women, but evidence to support an increase in births (by around 15%) among coupled women.


Welfare reform Fertility 

JEL Classification

J13 J18 H53 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Fiscal StudiesLondonUK
  2. 2.Centre for Market and Public OrganisationUniversity of BristolBristolUK

Personalised recommendations