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More family responsibility, more informal care? The effect of motivation on the giving of informal care by people aged over 50 in the Netherlands compared to other European countries


  • Oudijk, Debbie
  • Woittiez, Isolde
  • de Boer, Alice


Against the backdrop of ongoing population ageing, informal care occupies an important place on European political agendas. This article discusses informal caregiving by middle aged and older persons in the Netherlands and other European countries, with particular emphasis on the role played by motives. The data are drawn from SHARE. Our results show that in the Netherlands, it is mainly feelings of being needed and obligation that increase the chance of informal care being given. Deriving pleasure from an activity, by contrast, reduces the likelihood. In Southern Europe, where the responsibility for providing care lies with the family, we found that, contrary to expectations, older carers do not more often feel obliged. They less often report that they feel needed or see being socially active as a way of contributing to society. Our simulations suggest that if the socially active Dutch had the same motives as their Southern European counterparts and behaved similarly in terms of informal caregiving, the number of informal carers would fall. This implies that a greater policy emphasis on family responsibility could actually bring about a decline in the amount of care given, as opposed to the envisaged increase.

Suggested Citation

  • Oudijk, Debbie & Woittiez, Isolde & de Boer, Alice, 2011. "More family responsibility, more informal care? The effect of motivation on the giving of informal care by people aged over 50 in the Netherlands compared to other European countries," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 101(3), pages 228-235, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:hepoli:v:101:y:2011:i:3:p:228-235

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Carl Mellström & Magnus Johannesson, 2008. "Crowding Out in Blood Donation: Was Titmuss Right?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(4), pages 845-863, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Elena Gentili & Giuliano Masiero & Fabrizio Mazzonna, 2016. "The Role of Culture in Long-term Care," IdEP Economic Papers 1605, USI Università della Svizzera italiana.
    2. Thomas Akintayo & Niina Häkälä & Katja Ropponen & Elsa Paronen & Sari Rissanen, 2016. "Predictive Factors for Voluntary and/or Paid Work among Adults in their Sixties," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 128(3), pages 1387-1404, September.
    3. Plaisier, Inger & Verbeek-Oudijk, Debbie & de Klerk, Mirjam, 2017. "Developments in home-care use. Policy and changing community-based care use by independent community-dwelling adults in the Netherlands," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 121(1), pages 82-89.


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