ALP policies bad for babies health

Julia Gillard has announced another change to the baby bonus.

JULIA Gillard has backtracked on Labor policy by announcing advance payments of the baby bonus in a bid to tackle cost of living pressures.

Labor would also liberalise advance payments of the family tax benefit, the Prime Minister said.

Under the changes, parents will be able to get an up-front $500 payment of the baby bonus to help with the arrival of a child.

Under the previous Howard government’s original baby bonus scheme new parents were given a lump sum payment of $5000, but the Rudd government changed the method of payment to fortnightly instalments.

Under the new baby bonus advance, the up-front amount would be recouped over subsequent fortnightly payments and the overall payment will remain at $5,294 per child.

The $500 would be paid together with the first instalment payment, with the remainder to be paid by way of 12 subsequent fortnightly payments of $368.

It’s not clear from the article when that’ll happen, but the other change being announced starts in July 2011. It should start immediately. These delayed policy changes can have adverse health effects. Just ask ALP candidate Andrew Leigh.

In an earlier paper (Gans and Leigh, 2006a), we analysed the effect of the introduction of the $3,000 “Baby Bonus” for children born on or after July 1, 2004. We demonstrated that parents behaved strategically in order to receive this benefit, with over 1000 births being “moved” so as to ensure that their parents were eligible for the Baby Bonus. On July 1, 2006, the payment was increased by $834. In this paper, we analyse births in 2006, and find that again, a large number of births were moved. We estimate that over 600 births were moved from June 2006 to July 2006, with unknown and potentially adverse health consequences.

Update: The Punch has more.

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10 Responses to ALP policies bad for babies health

  1. JC


    With due respect, you shouldn’t ask Andrew Leigh or cite him as a reference, as I can’t see how any of his studies would posses an even ounce of credibility after the “ABC-is-right -wing “ crap he (and Gans) peddled as somehow being scholarly and scientific.

    As far as I know he still has refused to run a mile from that junk by not disavowing it, apologizing to the public for indirectly spending their money (on junk research) and not refunding the costs to the long poor suffering taxpayer.

    I should be fair here and state unequivocally that Gans is just as responsible for that pile of shit too.

    My point is that unless Leigh apologizes nothing he says can be trusted and his research should be gone over with a fine toothcomb.

  2. jtfsoon

    I have to say I find this part of Leigh’s research as convincing as the ABC stuff and the stuff about people delaying their time of death in response to abolition of estate taxes

    This is all Freakonomics GIGO territory

  3. Entropy

    Clearly you can induce a birth to move it from July to June, but how do you move a birth from June to July? Whack in a big rubber bung? (note to Abbott staff: do not let him read this)

    Because planning at the point of consummation doesn’t really work that precisely. Too much practice can lead to mistakes.

  4. jtfsoon

    If Gans and Leighs’ results are not a statistical anomaly, we may have found the key to immortality.

  5. JC

    As an aside.

    Gans is even more amusing… He was still running with Fuelwatch and Gocerywatch well after Rudd had back-peddled at 100 mph. He was still defending these policies. I use the word “policies” loosely here.

  6. JC

    There’s this from Jason’s link.

    In 1979, Australia abolished federal inheritance taxes. Using daily deaths data, we show that approximately 50 deaths were shifted from the week before the abolition to the week after. This amounts to over half of those who would have been eligible to pay the tax. Although we cannot rule out the possibility that our results are driven by misreporting, our results imply that over the very short run, the death rate may be highly elastic with respect to the inheritance tax rate.

    Can I make one unscientific observation here. These two should never get together and do research. Ever!

    If they were in a class room and I was their teacher I would’ve ensured they never sat together as they seem to be a really bad influence on each other.

  7. jtfsoon

    As i said, JC, this research tells us how to increase life expectancy.

    Just keep passing and repealing inheritance taxes a few times a year. Keep those dying oldsters guessing,.

  8. Sinclair Davidson

    JC – not quite fair on Gans. From memory he changed his position on Fuelwatch supporting the process of policy experiementation rather than particular outcomes.

  9. Steve Edney

    but how do you move a birth from June to July?

    Well given something like a third of births are caesarean more than half of those elective and full term is anywhere after 37 weeks, then its pretty easy.

  10. entropy

    But then they would not be bringing it forward would they? As in they would actually be closer to term.

    No, the only instances that this theory could apply to are mothers that the Obie has recommended early inducement to avoid complications. In that case a delay could be bad for both mum and baby, and only idiots would seriously consider it. Of course the proportion of births in this scenario would be pretty small, and the number of those actually stupid enough to risk delay, this leaves me to conclude that this is a beat up.

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