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Home care for the elderly: the role of relatives, friends and neighbors


  • Adriaan Kalwij
  • Giacomo Pasini


  • Mingqin Wu


We use data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe to examine the hours of home care received by the elderly. The existing empirical literature has mostly examined informal home care from children and formal home care. We identify two additional informal home care providers, namely, relatives (other than children) and friends (including neighbors) who provide about 30 % of the hours of informal home care. Our main new empirical finding is that single elderly persons who can rely less on children—and in particular daughters—for their home care receive not only more formal care but also more care from friends and neighbors. These findings suggest that policymakers need to take into account not only home care provision from children but also home care provision from friends and neighbors to obtain accurate projections concerning the increasing costs of formal care programs due to an aging population. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2014

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:reveho:v:12:y:2014:i:2:p:379-404 DOI: 10.1007/s11150-012-9159-4

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Loken, Katrine Vellesen & Lundberg, Shelly & Riise, Julie, 2014. "Lifting the Burden: State Care of the Elderly and Labor Supply of Adult Children," IZA Discussion Papers 8267, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Matteo Lippi Bruni & Cristina Ugolini, 2016. "Delegating home care for the elderly to external caregivers? An empirical study on Italian data," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 155-183, March.
    3. Joan Costa-Font & Martin Karlsson & Henning Øien, 2015. "Informal Care and the Great Recession," CINCH Working Paper Series 1502, Universitaet Duisburg-Essen, Competent in Competition and Health, revised Feb 2015.
    4. Ludovico Carrino & Cristina Elisa Orso, 2014. "Eligibility and inclusiveness of Long-Term Care Institutional frameworks in Europe: a cross-country comparison," Working Papers 2014:28, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".
    5. Ludovico Carrino & Cristina Elisa Orso & Giacomo Pasini, 2015. "Demand of Long-Term Care and benefit eligibility across European countries," Working Papers 2015:26, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".
    6. Vincenzo Atella & Federico Belotti & Ludovico Carrino & Andrea Piano Mortari, 2017. "The future of Long Term Care in Europe. An investigation using a dynamic microsimulation model," CEIS Research Paper 405, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 08 May 2017.

    More about this item


    Informal care; System of equations; Tobit model; Aging; I38; J12; J14;

    JEL classification:

    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination


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