Grandparents in the blues. The effect of childcare on grandparents’ depression
We estimate the effect of grandchild care on the depression of grandmothers and grandfathers, using data from the Survey on Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe and an identification strategy which exploits both the random variation in the timing of interviews across individuals and the fact that the demand for childcare declines with the age of grandchildren. We find that more childcare increases depression. The estimated effect is sizeable: ten additional hours of childcare per month increase the probability that complying grandmothers and grandfathers develop depressive symptoms by 3.2 to 3.3 percentage points and by 5.4 to 6.1 percentage points respectively.
JEL CodesJ13 I12
KeywordsChildcare Grandparents Depression Europe
We are grateful to Marco Bertoni, Hope Corman, Maria De Paola, Jeffrey DeSimone, José Escarce, Andrea Ichino, Ariela Lowenstein, Giovanni Mastrobuoni, Raffaele Miniaci, Michele Pellizzari, Enrico Rettore, Lucia Rizzica, Silvia Salcuni, Anna Sanz de Galdeano, Marcello Sartarelli, Elena Stancanelli and the audiences at seminars and conferences in Alicante, Brescia, Bolzano, Ispra (JRC), Trento (IRVAPP), Jerusalem (Taub Center), San Diego and UCLA for comments and suggestions. This paper uses data from SHARELIFE release 1 and SHARE release 2.6.0. The SHARE data collection has been primarily funded by the European Commission through the 5th frame work 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 frame work programme (SHARE-PREP, 211909 and SHARE-LEAP, 227822). Financial support by Fondazione Cariparo Starting Grant “Education, Retirement and Household Behavior” is gratefully acknowledged. The usual disclaimer applies.
This study was funded by the CARIPARO Foundation Starting Grant on “Education, Retirement and Household Behavior”.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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