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Beyond money: Why financial incentives alone aren’t encouraging more births

Singapore’s birth rate recently reached a record low, having fallen from 1.12 in 2021 to a mere 1.04 last year. Figures were equally disconcerting in South Korea and Japan, which recorded birth rates of 0.78 and 1.2 respectively in 2022. Paradoxically, all three are developed and economically affluent countries with an abundance of resources that can potentially be spent on raising children.

Yet, despite continued efforts to boost birth rates – including the use of financial incentives such as cash bonuses and paid parental leave – the figures continue to fall in these countries. This begs the question: Can financial incentives alone effectively boost birth rates?

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