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Is There a Trade-off Between Parent Care and Self-care?

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  • Kanika Arora

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  • Douglas Wolf

Abstract

Caregiving for family members is often described as a 36-hour day. Previous literature has suggested that family caregivers have little time to attend to their own health needs, such as participating in leisure-time physical activity. Using data from the Health and Retirement Study, we analyze whether time-allocation decisions reflect a conflict between time devoted to informal care and time devoted to self-health promotion through physical activity. The empirical model is a system of four correlated equations, wherein the dependent variables are hours spent caregiving, frequency of moderate and vigorous physical activity, and hours spent in paid work. Results from joint estimation of the four equations indicate limited evidence of a competition between time spent in caregiving and frequency of physical activity. Parental factors that increase allocation of care time to parents do not comprehensively induce reductions in the frequency of any type of physical activity, or in hours of work, among either men or women. Copyright Population Association of America 2014

Suggested Citation

  • Kanika Arora & Douglas Wolf, 2014. "Is There a Trade-off Between Parent Care and Self-care?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(4), pages 1251-1270, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:demogr:v:51:y:2014:i:4:p:1251-1270
    DOI: 10.1007/s13524-014-0309-6
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Olena Nizalova, 2012. "The Wage Elasticity of Informal Care Supply: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 350-366, October.
    2. Bound, John & Brown, Charles & Mathiowetz, Nancy, 2001. "Measurement error in survey data," Handbook of Econometrics,in: J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 59, pages 3705-3843 Elsevier.
    3. Bernard van den Berg & Pol Spauwen, 2006. "Measurement of informal care: an empirical study into the valid measurement of time spent on informal caregiving," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(5), pages 447-460.
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    5. Susan Ettner, 1995. "The impact of “parent care” on female labor supply decisions," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 32(1), pages 63-80, February.
    6. Van Houtven, Courtney Harold & Coe, Norma B. & Skira, Meghan M., 2013. "The effect of informal care on work and wages," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 240-252.
    7. Kooreman, Peter & Kapteyn, Arie, 1987. "A Disaggregated Analysis of the Allocation of Time within the Household," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(2), pages 223-249, April.
    8. V. Spike Peterson, 2013. "Informal work," Chapters,in: Handbook of Research on Gender and Economic Life, chapter 11, pages 169-182 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    9. Jean Kimmel & Rachel Connelly, 2007. "Mothers’ Time Choices: Caregiving, Leisure, Home Production, and Paid Work," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(3).
    10. F. Thomas Juster & Richard Suzman, 1995. " An Overview of the Health and Retirement Study," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30, pages s7-s56.
    11. Kenneth Couch & Mary Daly & Douglas Wolf, 1999. "Time? money? both? the allocation of resources to older Parents," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 36(2), pages 219-232, May.
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