I am a Pre-Doctoral Research Assistant at the STICERD-Gates Hub for Equal Representation at The London School of Economics.
Master of Public Administration (MPA), 2019
London School of Economics
BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, 2016
University of Oxford
I take advantage of a unique policy experiment in the UK to identify the infant health effects of starting universal child benefits in pregnancy. Leveraging administrative birth registrations and hospital microdata from England, I study the effects of the Health in Pregnancy Grant, a universal cash transfer of 190 GBP to all pregnant mothers who visited their doctor or midwife from 2009 to 2011. I exploit an arbitrary eligibility rule to implement a regression discontinuity design in the date of birth of the baby. I find that the policy led to significant increases in birthweight and reductions in prematurity. These effects do not appear to be explained by earlier antenatal care, nutrition or smoking. Instead, my results are consistent with reductions in prenatal stress among those most at risk of it: low-income, younger and older mothers.
We study the impact of restricting child-related social assistance to the first two children in the family on the fertility of third and subsequent births. As of April 2017, all third and subsequent born children to low-income families in the UK did not receive means-tested child benefits, amounting to a reduction in income relative to the previous system of approximately 3000 GBP a year per child. We use administrative births microdata and household survey data to estimate the impact of the two-child limit on higher-order births with a triple differences approach, exploiting variation over date of birth, socio-economic status, and birth order. We find some evidence that the policy led to a small decline in higher-order fertility among low-income families. However, compared to earlier research in the UK and elsewhere, largely based on benefit increases, the impact is small. This may be due to informational barriers or to other economic and social constraints affecting low income families. Our results imply that the main impact of cuts to child benefits is not to reduce fertility but to withdraw income from low-income families, with potential implications for child poverty.