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Review of Economics of the Household

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 135–174 | Cite as

Regular provision of grandchild care and participation in social activities

  • Bruno Arpino
  • Valeria Bordone
Article

Abstract

Against the background of rapid population ageing, studying social participation in later life is of particular relevance within the framework of active ageing. Although caring for grandchildren has taken a central role for older persons due to unprecedented overlap between grandparents’ and their grandchildren’s lives, whether the relationship between grandparental childcare and social activities is characterised by cumulation or competition remains under-explored. Grandparental childcare may increase the purpose in life for grandparents, stimulating their social participation, or it may impose time and energy constraints on it. This study aims to assess the effect of providing grandchild care on participation in social activities for people aged 50–85 in Europe. Using an instrumental variable approach on data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe, we find no significant negative effects of grandchild care on engagement in at least one social activity. However, regular provision of grandchild care has a significant negative effect on the number of activities in which grandmothers participate. When considering the activities separately by type we also find, for grandmothers only, a negative effect on volunteering, engagement in educational or training courses and participation in political or community-related organisation.

Keywords

Grandchild care Social activities Grandparents Intergenerational relationships Volunteering SHARE 

JEL Classification

J14 J22 Z13 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Bruno Arpino acknowledges funding from the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (Project: “Grandparenting and successful ageing”; Grant No. CSO2015-62707-ERC).

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political and Social Sciences and Research and Expertise Centre for Survey Methodology (RECSM)Universitat Pompeu FabraBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Centre for Research on AgeingUniversity of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK

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