Does cutting child benefits reduce fertility in larger families? Evidence from the UK’s two-child limit

Image credit: Ben Wicks, Unsplash


We study the fertility effects of restricting child-related social assistance to the first two children in the family. As of April 2017, all third and subsequent children born to low-income families in the UK were made ineligible for approximately 3000 GBP of means-tested child benefits per year. We leverage administrative births microdata to estimate the impact of the two-child limit on higher-order births with a triple differences approach. We find some suggestive evidence of a decline in higher-order fertility among low-income families. However, effects are not statistically significant and compared to previous research in the UK and elsewhere, the implied elasticities are small.

Latest working paper available here.

Mary Reader
Mary Reader
Pre-Doctoral Research Assistant

I am a Pre-Doctoral Research Assistant at the STICERD-Gates Hub for Equal Representation at The London School of Economics.