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The health effects of caregiving by grandparents in Taiwan: an instrumental variable estimation

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Listed:
  • Li-Jung Ku

    ()

  • Sally Stearns

    ()

  • Courtney Houtven

    ()

  • George Holmes

    ()

Abstract

Previous research on the health effects of caring for grandchildren has had variable findings, including both positive and negative effects on the health of grandparents. The estimated effects of caregiving may be affected by selection, with the health of grandparent affecting the likelihood of undertaking caregiving. The health effects of caregiving also likely differ according to the cultural motivations for caregiving by grandparents. This paper assesses whether selection into caring for grandchildren affects the estimated effects of caregiving on the health of Taiwanese grandparents. We used four waves (1993–2003) of the Survey of Health and Living Status of the Elderly in Taiwan to estimate the effect of grandparent caregiving on self-rated health, mobility, and depression. To control for unobserved selection into caregiving, we employed time-varying instrumental variables (the number of grandchildren and marital status of adult children) in addition to person fixed effects. After adjusting for baseline differences, caregivers had better self-rated health, fewer mobility limitations, and fewer depressive symptoms compared to the non-caregivers, which suggest evidence of health improvement for grandparents. Instrumental variable analysis showed that caring for grandchildren was endogenously determined with grandparents’ mobility limitations, and grandparent caregivers benefited from a significant reduction in the number of mobility limitations. Our finding suggests that caring for grandchildren can be beneficial for the health of Taiwanese grandparents and supports our hypothesis that a culturally expected role of caregiving results in role enhancement. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Suggested Citation

  • Li-Jung Ku & Sally Stearns & Courtney Houtven & George Holmes, 2012. "The health effects of caregiving by grandparents in Taiwan: an instrumental variable estimation," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 521-540, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:reveho:v:10:y:2012:i:4:p:521-540
    DOI: 10.1007/s11150-012-9154-9
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Verbeek, Marno & Nijman, Theo, 1992. "Testing for Selectivity Bias in Panel Data Models," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 33(3), pages 681-703, August.
    2. Lindsey A. Baker & Merril Silverstein, 2008. "Preventive Health Behaviors Among Grandmothers Raising Grandchildren," Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Gerontological Society of America, vol. 63(5), pages 304-311.
    3. Wang, Ying & Marcotte, Dave E., 2007. "Golden Years? The Labor Market Effects of Caring for Grandchildren," IZA Discussion Papers 2629, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Cox, Donald & Rank, Mark R, 1992. "Inter-vivos Transfers and Intergenerational Exchange," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(2), pages 305-314, May.
    5. K. Bolin & B. Lindgren & P. Lundborg, 2008. "Informal and formal care among single-living elderly in Europe," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(3), pages 393-409.
    6. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
    7. Chung-Ping Loh, 2009. "Physical inactivity and working hour inflexibility: evidence from a U.S. sample of older men," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 257-281, September.
    8. Van Houtven, Courtney Harold & Norton, Edward C., 2004. "Informal care and health care use of older adults," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(6), pages 1159-1180, November.
    9. Nijman, T.E. & Verbeek, M.J.C.M., 1992. "Testing for selectivity in panel data models," Other publications TiSEM 7ec34a6c-1d84-4052-971c-d, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    10. Norma B. Coe & Courtney Harold Van Houtven, 2009. "Caring for mom and neglecting yourself? The health effects of caring for an elderly parent," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(9), pages 991-1010.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Brunello, Giorgio & Rocco, Lorenzo, 2016. "Is Childcare Bad for the Mental Health of Grandparents? Evidence from SHARE," IZA Discussion Papers 10022, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Mónika López-Anuarbe, 2013. "Intergenerational transfers in long term care," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 235-258, June.
    3. Bruno Arpino & Valeria Bordone, 2017. "Regular provision of grandchild care and participation in social activities," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 135-174, March.
    4. Adriaan Kalwij & Giacomo Pasini & Mingqin Wu, 2014. "Home care for the elderly: the role of relatives, friends and neighbors," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 379-404, June.
    5. Shoshana Grossbard, 2014. "A note on altruism and caregiving in the family: do prices matter?," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 487-491, September.
    6. repec:eee:socmed:v:190:y:2017:i:c:p:67-74 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Janina Reinkowski, 2013. "Should We Care that They Care? Grandchild Care and Its Impact on Grandparent Health," ifo Working Paper Series 165, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    8. repec:dem:demres:v:37:y:2017:i:29 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Grandparent; Caregiving; Taiwan; Elderly health; I10; D10;

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General

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