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Unpaid and Paid Care: The Effects of Child Care and Elder Care on the Standard of Living

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  • Kijong Kim
  • Rania Antonopoulos

Abstract

Transforming care for children and the elderly from a private to a public domain engenders a series of benefits to the economy that improve our standard of living. We assess the positive impacts of social care from both receivers' and providers' points of view. The benefits to care receivers are various, ranging from private, higher returns to education to enhancing subjective well-being and health outcomes. The economy-wide spillovers of the benefits are noteworthy. Early childhood education reduces costs of law enforcement and generates higher long-term economic growth. Home-based health care lowers absenteeism and job losses that otherwise undermine labor productivity, providing adequate care at a lower cost and delaying admission into high-cost institutional care. Social care improves mothers' labor-market attachment with higher lifetime income; it also lowers physical and psychological burdens of elder care that are becoming more prevalent with an aging population. Social care investment creates more job opportunities than other public spending, especially for workers from poor households and with low levels of educational attainment. The broad contributions of social care to our standard of living should be recognized in the public discourse, particularly in this era of fiscal austerity.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Levy Economics Institute in its series Economics Working Paper Archive with number wp_691.

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Date of creation: Oct 2011
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Handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_691

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Web page: http://www.levyinstitute.org

Related research

Keywords: Child Care; Elder Care; Social Care; Quality of Life;

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References

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  1. Susan Himmelweit, 2002. "Making Visible the Hidden Economy: The Case for Gender-Impact Analysis of Economic Policy," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(1), pages 49-70.
  2. Douglas Almond & Janet Currie, 2010. "Human Capital Development Before Age Five," NBER Working Papers 15827, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Flavio Cunha & James J. Heckman, 2008. "Formulating, Identifying and Estimating the Technology of Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Formation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(4).
  4. Heckman, James J. & Masterov, Dimitriy V., 2007. "The Productivity Argument for Investing in Young Children," IZA Discussion Papers 2725, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. David Blau & Erdal Tekin, 2007. "The determinants and consequences of child care subsidies for single mothers in the USA," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 20(4), pages 719-741, October.
  6. Janet Currie, 2001. "Early Childhood Education Programs," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 213-238, Spring.
  7. Rania Antonopoulos & Kijong Kim & Tom Masterson & Ajit Zacharias, 2010. "Investing in Care: A Strategy for Effective and Equitable Job Creation," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_610, Levy Economics Institute.
  8. Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan, 2008. "Child-Care Policy and the Labor Supply of Mothers with Young Children: A Natural Experiment from Canada," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(3), pages 519-548, 07.
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