Informal care and labour force participation among middle-aged women in Spain
Informal care is today the form of support most commonly used by those who need other people in order to carry out certain activities that are considered basic (eating, dressing, taking a shower, etc.), in Spain and in most other countries in the region. The possible labour opportunity costs incurred by these informal carers, the vast majority of whom are middle-aged women, have not as yet been properly quantified in Spain. It is, however, crucially important to know these quantities at a time when public authorities appear to be determined to extend the coverage offered up to now as regards long-term care. In this context, we use the Spanish subsample of the European Community Household Panel (1994- 2001) to estimate a dynamic ordered probit and so attempt to examine the effects of various types of informal care on labour behaviour. The results obtained indicate the existence of labour opportunity costs for those women who live with the dependent person they care for, but not for those who care for someone outside the household. Furthermore, whereas caregiving for more than a year has negative effects on labour force participation, the same cannot be said of those who “start caregiving” and “stop caregiving”.
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