Baby bonus, anyone? Examining heterogeneous responses to a pro-natalist policy

  • Natalie Malak
  • Md Mahbubur RahmanEmail author
  • Terry A. Yip
Original Paper


We examine the impact of the Allowance for Newborn Children, a universal baby bonus offered by the Canadian province of Quebec, on birth order, sibship sex composition, income, and education. We find a large response for third- and higher-order births for which the bonus was more generous. Interestingly, though, we find stronger response if there were two previous sons or a previous son and daughter rather than two previous daughters. We also find, in addition to a transitory effect, a permanent effect, with the greatest increase in one daughter-two son families among three-child households. Moreover, we find a hump shape response by income group, with the greatest response from middle-income families. Also, women with at least some post-secondary education respond more to the policy than those with less. These findings suggest that properly structured pro-natal policies can successfully increase fertility among different segments of the population while simultaneously diminishing the effect of gender preferences and fertility disparity related to women’s education.


Fertility Baby bonus Fertility incentive Sex composition Difference-in-differences 

JEL classification

J13 J18 H31 



We thank Byron Spencer for his guidance and support. We would also like to thank Philip DeCicca, Arthur Sweetman, Laura Turner, participants at the Canadian Population Society Annual Conference, the European Society for Population Economics Annual Conference, the Canadian Economic Association Annual Conference, the Annual Congress of the European Economic Association, and the University of New Brunswick for their helpful suggestions. We would also like to thank the anonymous referees and the editor, Alessandro Cigno, for their detailed and insightful comments. We would also like to thank Peter Kitchen from Statistics Canada for all his help. The analysis presented in this paper was conducted at the Research Data Centre at McMaster which is part of the Canadian Research Data Centre Network (CRDCN). The services and activities provided by the Research Data Centre at McMaster are made possible by the financial or in-kind support of the SSHRC, the CIHR, the CFI, Statistics Canada, and McMaster University. The views expressed in this paper do not necessarily represent the CRDCN’s or that of its partners’.

Compliance with ethical standards

Natalie Malak has received grants from Ontario Graduate Scholarships for her doctoral degree. Md Mahbubur Rahman and Terry A. Yip have received support from the Ontario Student Assistance Program for their doctoral degrees.

Conflict of interest

Beyond these, the authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Natalie Malak
    • 1
  • Md Mahbubur Rahman
    • 2
    Email author
  • Terry A. Yip
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Economics and Computational Analysis, Business Administration Building, Rm 327The University of Alabama in HuntsvilleHuntsvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada

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