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Informal Care and Caregiver's Health


  • Young Kyung Do
  • Edward C. Norton
  • Sally C. Stearns
  • Courtney Harold Van Houtven


This study aims to measure the causal effect of informal caregiving on the health and health care use of women who are caregivers, using instrumental variables. We use data from South Korea, where daughters and daughters‐in‐law are the prevalent source of caregivers for frail elderly parents and parents‐in‐law. A key insight of our instrumental variable approach is that having a parent‐in‐law with functional limitations increases the probability of providing informal care to that parent‐in‐law, but a parent‐in‐law's functional limitation does not directly affect the daughter‐in‐law's health. We compare results for the daughter‐in‐law and daughter samples to check the assumption of the excludability of the instruments for the daughter sample. Our results show that providing informal care has significant adverse effects along multiple dimensions of health for daughter‐in‐law and daughter caregivers in South Korea. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Young Kyung Do & Edward C. Norton & Sally C. Stearns & Courtney Harold Van Houtven, 2015. "Informal Care and Caregiver's Health," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(2), pages 224-237, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:24:y:2015:i:2:p:224-237
    DOI: 10.1002/hec.3012

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Talley, R.C. & Crews, J.E., 2007. "Framing the public health of caregiving," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 97(2), pages 224-228.
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    4. Van Houtven, Courtney Harold & Norton, Edward C., 2008. "Informal care and Medicare expenditures: Testing for heterogeneous treatment effects," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 134-156, January.
    5. Angrist, Joshua D & Evans, William N, 1998. "Children and Their Parents' Labor Supply: Evidence from Exogenous Variation in Family Size," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 450-477, June.
    6. Martin Pinquart & Silvia Sörensen, 2007. "Correlates of Physical Health of Informal Caregivers: A Meta-Analysis," Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Gerontological Society of America, vol. 62(2), pages 126-137.
    7. Bobinac, Ana & van Exel, N. Job A. & Rutten, Frans F.H. & Brouwer, Werner B.F., 2010. "Caring for and caring about: Disentangling the caregiver effect and the family effect," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 549-556, July.
    8. 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, September.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. #HEJC papers for August 2013
      by academichealtheconomists in The Academic Health Economists' Blog on 2013-08-01 04:00:48


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    Cited by:

    1. Dörte Heger, 2017. "The Mental Health of Children Providing Care to their Elderly Parent," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(12), pages 1617-1629, December.
    2. Huong Thu Le & Ha Trong Nguyen, 2015. "Intergenerational Transmission in Health: Causal estimates from fixed effects instrumental variables models for two cohorts of Australian children," Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre Working Paper series WP1509, Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School.
    3. Schmitz, Hendrik & Westphal, Matthias, 2013. "Short- and Medium-term Effects of Informal Care Provision on Health," Ruhr Economic Papers 426, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    4. Pestieau, Pierre & Ponthiere, Gregory, 2016. "Long-term care and births timing," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 340-357.
    5. Cecchini, Michele, 2018. "The hidden economics of informal elder-care in the United States," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 12(C), pages 218-224.
    6. Schmitz, Hendrik & Westphal, Matthias, 2015. "Short- and medium-term effects of informal care provision on female caregivers’ health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 174-185.
    7. Dogbe, Wisdom & Gil, José M., 2018. "Effectiveness of a carbon tax to promote a climate-friendly food consumption," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 235-246.
    8. Bom, Judith & Bakx, Pieter & Schut, Frederik & van Doorslaer, Eddy, 2019. "Health effects of caring for and about parents and spouses," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 14(C).
    9. Norton, E.C., 2016. "Health and Long-Term Care," Handbook of the Economics of Population Aging, in: Piggott, John & Woodland, Alan (ed.),Handbook of the Economics of Population Aging, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 0, pages 951-989, Elsevier.
    10. Fernanda Mazzotta & Lavinia Parisi, 2020. "Money and time: what would you give back to me? Reciprocity between children and their elderly parents in Europe," Economia Politica: Journal of Analytical and Institutional Economics, Springer;Fondazione Edison, vol. 37(3), pages 941-969, October.
    11. Sandrine Juin, 2016. "Care for dependent elderly people : dealing with health and financing issues," Erudite Ph.D Dissertations, Erudite, number ph16-02 edited by Thomas Barnay, May.
    12. S. Balia & R. Brau, 2011. "A Country for Old Men? An Analysis of the Determinants of Long-Term Home Care in Europe," Working Paper CRENoS 201104, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
    13. Chen, Lu & Fan, Hongli & Chu, Lanlan, 2019. "The hidden cost of informal care: An empirical study on female caregivers' subjective well-being," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 224(C), pages 85-93.
    14. Abrahamsen, Signe A. & Grøtting, Maja Weemes, 2019. "Formal Care of the Elderly and Health Outcomes Among Adult Daughters," Working Papers in Economics 2/19, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
    15. Barnay, Thomas & Juin, Sandrine, 2016. "Does home care for dependent elderly people improve their mental health?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 149-160.
    16. Yoko Niimi, 2016. "The “Costs” of informal care: an analysis of the impact of elderly care on caregivers’ subjective well-being in Japan," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 14(4), pages 779-810, December.
    17. Kirschstein, Thomas, 2018. "Planning of multi-product pipelines by economic lot scheduling models," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 264(1), pages 327-339.
    18. Ricardo Rodrigues & Stefania Ilinca & Andrea E. Schmidt, 2018. "Income‐rich and wealth‐poor? The impact of measures of socio‐economic status in the analysis of the distribution of long‐term care use among older people," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(3), pages 637-646, March.
    19. Sean Urwin & Yiu‐Shing Lau & Thomas Mason, 2019. "Investigating the relationship between formal and informal care: An application using panel data for people living together," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(8), pages 984-997, August.
    20. P.L. de Zwart & P. Bakx & E.K.A. van Doorslaer, 2016. "Will you still need me, will you still feed me when I’m 64? The Health Impact of Caregiving," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 16-106/V, Tinbergen Institute.
    21. repec:zbw:rwirep:0426 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. Hendrik Schmitz & Matthias Westphal, 2013. "Short- and Medium-term Effects of Informal Care Provision on Health," Ruhr Economic Papers 0426, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    23. P.L. de Zwart & P. Bakx & E.K.A. van Doorslaer, 2017. "Will you still need me, will you still feed me when I'm 64? The health impact of caregiving to one's spouse," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(S2), pages 127-138, September.

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    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health


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