Changing economic and working conditions disproportionately affect the economic security of disadvantaged young people and adults. Rising costs of living combined with stagnant or declining retirement income also present serious challenges for some older Australians.
Economic security enhances wellbeing, reduces vulnerability to 'shocks' and enables people to participate fully in social, economic, political and cultural life.
However, the decline in entry-level and semi-skilled jobs, coupled with increased restrictions on government income support, has compromised some people's ability to earn a stable income. It can also limit their access to necessities such as housing, transport, care services, health services and education.
Our research looks at the interaction between employment, income support, and taxes and transfers. Currently, we are examining on how people manage financial risks across the life course in order to better understand what effective and necessary interventions.
With the uncertain future of employment and with political pressure on social welfare spending, there is renewed interest in the concept of a basic (or guaranteed) income. This is a form of social security in which individuals receive a regular, often unconditional payment from either government or a public institution.
This working paper examines the purpose and intent of key basic income proposals and trials in Australia and overseas. It then proposes a nine-dimension framework, expanded from the framework of De Wispelaere and Stirton (2004), for assessing basic income policies, especially their capacity to underpin economic security.
Dina Bowman, Shelley Mallett and Dairmuid Cooney-O’Donoghue 2017, Basic income: trade-offs and bottom lines (PDF, 471 KB)
Financial wellbeing has become a popular concept in the fields of social policy, service delivery and personal financial products. This new working paper traces its development. The authors argue that financial wellbeing should take account not only of a person’s money management skills and access to products but also the external factors such as labour market trends, job security and income levels that constrain real choices and opportunities.
Dina Bowman, Marcus Banks, Geraldine Fela, Roslyn Russell and Ashton de Silva, Understanding financial wellbeing in times of insecurity (PDF, 340 KB)
Spinning the plates
International research shows that people with volatile incomes face increased financial uncertainty making ends meet. Yet little is known in Australia about how much household incomes vary from payday to payday, how many households are affected, what types of financial 'juggling' households do, or how they find coping with this problem.
This project explores these important questions.
Read more »
Dina Bowman and Marcus Banks ‘We lost the house, we lost everything’: what dealing with financial stress looks like, in The Conversation 6 December 2016
All being well? Financial wellbeing, inclusion and risk
RMIT University, Melbourne, 5 December 2016
This lively panel discussion on financial wellbeing featured Professor Elaine Kempson (UK), Professor Jerry Buckland (Canada) and Dr Jack Noone (Australia).
Read more, including a summary report »
Dina Bowman and Yvette Maker present the urgent need to address the gender inequality that prevents many Australian women from achieving economic security, in a publication by Future Leaders. Download the No! Not equal text by chapter
On #WorldHumanitarianDay read about our role helping settle refugees in Australia for 60 years. bsl.org.au/contact/multic…
Acknowledgement of country
The Brotherhood of St Laurence acknowledges and recognises the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we live and work, and we pay our respects to their Elders both past and present.