The Effect of Elder Caregiving on Labor Force Participation

December 15, 2023

Working Paper | Unpaid eldercare provided by friends and family comes with costs to caregivers, including the limitations eldercare responsibilities may place on labor force participation and work hours. This study examines the relationship between the intensity of unpaid elder care and work behavior for previously full-time workers.

By: Jessica Forden

The impacts of informal eldercare extend beyond the simple summation of time spent providing such care. Secondary impacts, such as the opportunity cost of not working, additionally add to the loss of financial resources for caregivers. Using 2011-2018 American Time Use Survey data, this study finds that high frequency eldercare provision is associated with a decreased probability of being in the labor force for women (2.7 percentage points) and a decrease in weekly hours worked for both men (3.4 hours) and women (2.3 hours), conditional on working full-time 2-5 months prior.

Read the working paper here.