Full-time versus part-time employment: Does it influence frequency of grandparental childcare?
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The impact of grandparents’ employment on grandparental childcare has been examined repeatedly, but the findings have so far been inconsistent. We contend that these inconsistencies may have resulted from variations in model specification and crude measurement of employment status. Furthermore, we assert that earlier research overlooked gender differences in the ability to combine paid employment and caregiving as well as variations between maternal and paternal grandparents. We also question the causal interpretation of earlier findings that were based on cross-sectional data. We revisit the issue of the impact of the intensity of employment and analyze SHARE data from 19 countries. We find a significant positive association between part-time employment (as compared to full-time employment) and the frequency of grandparental childcare in a cross-sectional sample, but only among paternal grandmothers. Capitalizing on the panel component of SHARE, we use a within-person estimator to show that this association is unlikely to reflect a causal effect of the intensity of labor market attachment on the frequency of the care of grandchildren, but more probably results from omitted variable bias. We argue that grandparents most likely to provide (intensive) childcare are also most likely to adjust their employment in anticipation of caregiving. The paper documents the usefulness of role strain theory among grandparents and highlights that part-time jobs may reduce role conflict and may thus make grandparenting a more easily manageable experience.
KeywordsGrandparents Childcare Part-time employment Intergenerational Solidarity
This research received financial support from the Czech Science Foundation (Grant No. 13-34958S). This paper uses data from SHARE wave 4 release 1.1.1, as of March 28th 2013 and SHARE wave 1 and 2 release 2.5.0, as of May 11th 2011. The SHARE data collection has been primarily funded by the European Commission through the 5th Framework Programme (project QLK6-CT-2001-00360 in the thematic programme Quality of Life), through the 6th Framework Programme (projects SHARE-I3, RII-CT-2006-062193, COMPARE, CIT5-CT-2005-028857, and SHARELIFE, CIT4-CT-2006-028812) and through the 7th Framework Programme (SHARE-PREP, No. 211909, SHARE-LEAP, No. 227822 and SHARE M4, No. 261982). Additional funding from the U.S. National Institute on Aging (U01 AG09740-13S2, P01 AG005842, P01 AG08291, P30 AG12815, R21 AG025169, Y1-AG-4553-01, IAG BSR06-11, and OGHA 04-064) and the German Ministry of Education and Research as well as from various national sources is gratefully acknowledged (see www.share-project.org for a full list of funding institutions).
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