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The Impact of Informal Caregiving Intensity on Women’s Retirement in the United States

Abstract

With increasing pressure on retirement-aged individuals to provide informal care while remaining in the work-force, it is important to understand the impact of informal care demands on individuals’ retirement decisions. This paper explores whether different intensities of informal caregiving can lead to retirement for women in the United States. Using the National Longitudinal Survey of Mature Women, we control for time-invariant heterogeneity and for time-varying sources of bias with a two-stage least squares model with fixed effects. We find that women who provide at least 20 hours of informal care per week are 1 to 3 percentage points more likely to retire relative to other women. We also find that when unobserved heterogeneity is controlled for with fixed effects, we cannot reject exogeneity. These findings suggest that for a sub-set of high intensity caregivers, policies encouraging both informal care and later retirement may not be feasible without allowances for flexible scheduling or other supports for working caregivers.

Abstract

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Notes

  1. We also conducted analyses that included full-time employed, part-time employed, unemployed, retired, disabled, and homemakers as separate categories to determine whether using a multinomial outcome altered our findings. We used a generalized linear latent and mixed model (gllamm) with a mutlinomial logit link and random effects to account for unobserved heterogeneity. The results were qualitatively similar to our base case analysis.

  2. Results available from the authors upon request.

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Correspondence to Josephine C. Jacobs.

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IX Appendices

IX Appendices

Appendix 1a

Table 5 Balance table of instrumental variable, last parent recently passed

Appendix 1b

Table 6 Balance table of instrumental variable, respondent has a single mother

Appendix1c

Table 7 Balance table of instrumental variable, respondent has a single father

Appendix 1d

Table 8 Balance table of instrumental variable, disabled family member in the household

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Jacobs, J.C., Van Houtven, C.H., Laporte, A. et al. The Impact of Informal Caregiving Intensity on Women’s Retirement in the United States. Population Ageing 10, 159–180 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12062-016-9154-2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12062-016-9154-2

Keywords

  • United States
  • Informal caregiving
  • Unpaid care
  • Retirement