Unconditional Cash Transfers Impact on Health Behaviours During a Crisis: A Natural Experiment Using the CARES Act 2020 - Sciences Po Access content directly
Preprints, Working Papers, ... (Working Paper) Year : 2023

Unconditional Cash Transfers Impact on Health Behaviours During a Crisis: A Natural Experiment Using the CARES Act 2020

Abstract

Unconditional cash transfers (UCTs) were an important government intervention during the COVID-19 pandemic, with as many as 191 countries adopting some form of UCT between March and June 2020. However, the extant literature evaluating UCTs’ impact on individual health behaviours and compliance with public health recommendations has remained limited to low-income countries. To fill this gap, the present article exploits natural variation in Economic Impact Payments’ (EIPs) reception in the United States – associated with the CARES Act 2020 – to evaluate UCTs’ impact in a high-income country during a crisis. Drawing on the first 19 waves of the Understanding Coronavirus in America (UCA) panel – in an event studies design using the interacted-weighted estimator – this paper is able to robustly assess EIPs’ effects. Firstly, this article shows that EIPs’ reception was associated with a significant increase in facemasks’ use, with effects being stronger amongst poorer households. When all eligible households are included, this work estimates that individuals were 4.7-percentage points more likely to wear a mask following EIPs’ reception. When the sample is restricted to the bottom income quartile, this effect rises to 6.3-percentage points. Second, the paper examines EIPs’ impact on compliance with other public health recommendations – working from home, avoiding high risk individuals, avoiding public spaces, and handwashing – finding no evidence that UCTs promote their uptake, suggesting that the mechanism is specific to facemasks. Thirdly, the article considers whether EIPs encouraged demerit temptation goods’ consumption, focusing on alcohol. Ultimately, no robust evidence can be seen for EIPs increasing alcohol consumption overall. In robustness checks, the paper also explores partisanship’s role influencing UCTs’ impact. Overall, this supplementary work shows few differences. However, for facemasks the paper finds that EIPs’ were most impactful amongst unaligned voters, suggesting that UCTs are best positioned to change the behaviour of those without strong political affiliations.
Fichier principal
Vignette du fichier
WP-153-Konechni.pdf (1.3 Mo) Télécharger le fichier
Origin : Publisher files allowed on an open archive
Licence : CC BY NC ND - Attribution - NonCommercial - NoDerivatives

Dates and versions

hal-04299498 , version 1 (22-11-2023)

Licence

Attribution - NonCommercial - NoDerivatives

Identifiers

  • HAL Id : hal-04299498 , version 1

Cite

Bartholomew A Konechni. Unconditional Cash Transfers Impact on Health Behaviours During a Crisis: A Natural Experiment Using the CARES Act 2020. 2023. ⟨hal-04299498⟩
145 View
16 Download

Share

Gmail Facebook X LinkedIn More