Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Papers in Economics,
University of Bergen, Department of Economics

No 2/19: Formal Care of the Elderly and Health Outcomes Among Adult Daughters

Signe A. Abrahamsen () and Maja Weemes Grøtting ()
Additional contact information
Signe A. Abrahamsen: University of Bergen, Department of Economics, Postal: Institutt for økonomi, Universitetet i Bergen, Postboks 7802, 5020 Bergen, Norway
Maja Weemes Grøtting: Norwegian Social Research, Oslo Metropolitan University, Postal: Oslo Metropolitan University, Stensberggata 26, 0170 Oslo, Norway

Abstract: Health-care expenditures and the demand for caregiving are increasing concerns for policy makers. Although informal care to a certain extent may substitute for costly formal care, providing informal care may come at a cost to caregivers in terms of their own health. However, evidence of causal effects of care responsibilities on health is limited, especially for long-term outcomes. In this paper, we estimate long-term effects of a formal care expansion for the elderly on the health of their middle-aged daughters. We exploit a reform in the federal funding of formal care for Norwegian municipalities that caused a greater expansion of home care provision in municipalities that initially had lower coverage rates. We find that expanding formal care reduced sickness absence in the short run, primarily due to reduced absences related to musculoskeletal and psychological disorders. In general, we find no effects on long-term health outcomes.

Keywords: Formal and informal eldercare; sickness absence; health

JEL-codes: I10; J14; J22; J38

55 pages, January 25, 2019

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