Ruhr Economic Papers

Ruhr Economic Papers #512

Work and Well-Being of Informal Caregivers in Europe

by Dörte Heger

RWI, 10/2014, 55 S./p., 8 Euro, ISBN 978-3-86788-587-4 DOI: 10.4419/86788587



Informal caregivers provide valuable services to elderly persons with long-term care needs, but the consequences of caregiving on caregivers are not yet fully understood. This paper illustrates the interrelation between caregiving and caregivers’ labour force participation, cognitive ability, and health in a simple theoretical model, and estimates the effects of caregiving using panel data from 13 European countries, which allows to analyze the effect of institutions on caregivers’ outcomes. The results show that caregiving severely and signicantly reduces caregivers’ probability of being employed, but only in countries with few formal care alternatives. Furthermore, caregivers in all countries suffer from worse mental health when caregiving is prompted by poor parental health. The results for the effects of caregiving on physical health and cognitive ability are mixed.

JEL-Classification: I12, J14, J18, J22

Keywords: Informal care; labour supply; cognitive ability; physical and mental health