University of California, Los Angeles

To provide information on the labor market consequences for adult daughters and sons providing elder care to their aging parents

  • Amount $356,199
  • City Los Angeles, CA
  • Investigator Kathleen McGarry
  • Year 2015
  • Program Research
  • Sub-program Working Longer

This grant funds research by UCLA economist Kathleen McGarry that examines how providing eldercare affects the labor market activities of adult sons and daughters. Using descriptive analyses, multivariate regressions, and structural modeling on data drawn from the longitudinal Health and Retirement Study, McGarry and her team will study changes in employment, hours worked, wages, and benefits (including health insurance and pension wealth) of adult caregivers in order to assess how caregiving activities affect financial well-being in later life. They will also draw comparisons across genders between the types of care, the number of hours of care, and the effect on labor market behaviors. Of particular interest is whether having a parent in need increases the labor market attachment of men while decreasing the labor force attachment of women. The experimental sample will have over 3,000 couples in which both spouses have living parents, allowing the UCLA team to investigate the transfer of resources to a husband’s parents compared to a wife’s parents. Preliminary analyses for the provision of parental assistance by married couples suggests that greater financial transfers flow to the husband’s parents and greater time transfers to the wife’s parents. There are several potential explanations for this pattern—including differences in the opportunity cost of time for the husband and wife, household bargaining models, and preference for providing care to a parent of the same gender as the adult child. Additional modeling work will allow the team to simulate the effects of various policy measures on caregiving and labor market outcomes, including public financial support for caregivers and low-cost long-term care insurance. The work promises to increase our understanding of the economics of marriage and the family and its implications for the older work force.

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