In 2005, the U.K. implemented the Child Trust Fund (CTF) to improve the life chances of children born into poverty. The CTF was a universal, publicly funded savings account for all children born on or after September 1, 2002, with larger amounts going to children from lower income families. The introduction of the CTF, and the abrupt ending of the program in 2011 as part of the austerity measures under the Cameron government, provides a unique natural experiment to test how parents respond to a large-scale, public financial investment in children. This talk explores whether parents alter their spending patterns in response to the CTF and whether this response differs across socioeconomic status.
Katie Fitzpatrick is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Seattle University. Her primary field of interest is consumer finance, with a specific focus on financial services for low-income households and means-tested tax and transfer programs. Her current work focuses on the use of mainstream and alternative financial institutions; the effectiveness of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly the food stamp program; and, the causes and consequences of food insecurity. Prior to coming to Seattle University, Katie worked as an Economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service (ERS) and served as an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy.