Building the Education Revolution: The Employment Effects of Fiscal Stimulus in Australia 

Author name: 
Watson T
Tervala J

This paper estimates the causal impact of the Great Recession-era Building the Education Revolution (BER) school infrastructure stimulus program on labour market outcomes in Australia. The evidence suggests that the program provided value for money, with costs per job-year saved most likely below $8,500 ($US 8,000) on average between 2009 and 2012. In 2009, the main year of program impact, roughly one third of employment benefits related to lowering unemployment, and two-thirds reduced labour force exit. Unemployment reductions were concentrated amongst men, while program effects on employment appear more equally distributed by gender than would be anticipated based on the gender composition of the construction industry. Employment benefits were highly concentrated amongst 25 to 34 year olds, were not greater in regions experiencing higher unemployment at the outset of the program, and geographic demand spillovers may have grown as the program progressed.

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