Featured Research Projects

The Financial Support for Long-term Elderly Care and Household Savings Behaviour

Asako Ohinata and Matteo Picchio

We analyse how the financial support for long-term elderly care affects the level of household savings. Using a difference-in-differences estimator, we investigate the 2002 Scottish reform, which introduced free formal personal care for all the elderly aged 65 and above residing in Scotland. Our semiparametric estimation technique allows the policy effects to be flexibly estimated across age groups. We find that the Scottish policy reduced the average household saving by about £7,200. Moreover, the estimated effects are heterogeneous across age groups of the head of household:tthese effects are particularly strong among those aged between 40 and 60. The largest effect is observed at age 49 with the reduction in the average household saving by £12,764.

A link to the full paper can be found here.

Violence and Birth Outcomes: Evidence from Homicides in Brazil

Martin Foureaux Koppensteiner and Marco Manacorda

This paper uses microdata from Brazilian vital statistics on births and deaths between 2000 and 2010 to estimate the impact of in-utero exposure to local violence - measured by homicide rates - on birth outcomes. The estimates show that exposure to violence during the first trimester of pregnancy leads to a small but precisely estimated increase in the risk of low birthweight and prematurity. Effects are found in both small municipalities, where homicides are rare, and in large municipalities, where violence is endemic, and are particularly pronounced among children of poorly educated mothers, implying that violence compounds the disadvantage that these children already suffer as a result of their households’ lower socioeconomic status.

A link to the full paper can be found here.

Evaluation of Project 360 - Preliminary Report

Martin Foureaux Koppensteiner and Jesse Matheson

Project 360 is a novel approach to dealing with repeat domestic violence implemented by Leicestershire Police. The trail program has been running since November 2015 has been set up as a randomized-control trial. Project 360 involves a victim focused intervention for households which have experienced 3 or more police call-outs for domestic violence over 365 days. A police-employed engagement worker contacts victims and assists them with any post-report action that they wish to take. Engagement workers provide a link between police services and locally provided domestic violence support services. A team of researchers at the University of Leicester provide an independent evaluation of the project considering a wide range of outcomes. Details about the project are also available on the College of Policing Research Map.

Preliminary findings taking into account a smaller set of outcomes on a subset of the entire population include:

1. The intervention is associated with greater victim stress in the short run.

Relative to just before the initial incident, victims in the treatment group are 31% less likely to report improved stress levels and 40% more likely to report worsening stress levels, than are victims in the control group. Victims in the treatment group are also more likely to report a worsening of sleep, and poorer outcomes for life control and mental health.

2. The intervention is associated with improved family life and quality of life overall. Despite the findings for stress, measures of quality of family life and quality of life overall both significantly improve for the treatment group relative to the control group

3. Victims receiving the intervention are significantly more likely to take actions to change their situation.

Relative to the control group, the treatment group are significantly more likely to have visited their GP or A&E, are more likely to have accessed a domestic violence support service since, and are 24% less likely to be in current contact with the perpetrator.

4. Police satisfaction increases for victims receiving the intervention.

40% fewer victims in the treatment group report being dissatisfied with the police handling of the case associated with the initial incident. Victim opinion of the police overall is significantly more likely to improve and less likely to worsen as a result of the initial incident for the treatment group relative to the control group.

5. Victims receiving the treatment are significantly more likely to report future incidents.

The treatment group is 68% more likely than the control group to say their willingness to report a future incident has increased.

These preliminary results suggest that the Project 360 intervention has an overall positive effect on victim outcomes. The findings that stress increases for the treatment group is not surprising if one considers that some victims who receive the intervention will take steps to separate from an abusive partner or make other major life changes.

These preliminary results based on a victim survey data need to be interpreted with some caution. A full evaluation of Project 360 with a wider range of outcomes will be available soon.

The full preliminary report is available here.

The Economics of Teenage Pregnancy

Martin Foureaux Koppensteiner and Jesse Matheson

Little is known about the causal impact of education opportunities on the decision of young women to have children. Expanding education opportunities may lead to a greater number of young women putting off childbearing until after their teenage years. In this study we look at the effect of one of the largest secondary school expansions on record, providing quasi-experimental evidence to uncover the causal impact of education opportunity on teenage fertility.

After achieving near universal enrolment in primary education in the mid-1990s, Brazil went through an ambitious program of expanding secondary schooling. Between 1996 and 2006 more than 8,100 secondary schools (over a 50% increase) were introduced, increasing the gross enrolment rate from less than 20% to more than 35%. We combine data from the Brazilian School Census, Vital Statistics data capturing 45 million live births by age of mother, and information from the Brazilian population censuses, into an extraordinarily rich data set. A differences-in-differences design is used to exploit variation in secondary school availability across 5,360 Brazilian municipalities between 1996 and 2006.

We find increasing the availability of secondary schools leads to a substantial raise of enrolment rates for young women. The effects on childbearing are concentrated in the younger age groups. For ages 14 and 16 we estimate statistically a significant decrease of 3.8% and 2.6% in the number of births in a municipality following a unit increase in the number of secondary schools. Corresponding estimates for older age groups are small and statistically insignificant.

Impacts of long-term elderly health care funding system reforms on behavioural and health outcomes

Asako Ohinata

The elderly in many countries often face financial risks caused by expensive long-term elderly care. Individuals often fail to accumulate a sufficient amount of assets due to the high levels of uncertainty regarding when/for how long and in what way they would develop the need for care.  In response to growing concerns, governments in many developing countries are starting to tackle the problem by offering various financial support. Although these measures would provide financial assistance to the elderly themselves or families who are providing the care, the increasing financial support from the government could generate various unintended responses, which in turn may drastically increase the cost of elderly care above and beyond that which is currently estimated. This is a classical moral hazard problem in the insurance literature. Despite their importance, evidence for these potential responses among elderly is scarce. The current research proposes exactly to fill this gap in the literature by presenting evidence of behavioural response from various countries under alternative financial support system.

Financial support for this project from the MRC Early Career Fellowship in Economics of Health, No. MR/K022083 is kindly acknowledged.

Keeping Children Safe at Home

Nicola Cooper, joint with the University of Nottingham, Division of Primary Care

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