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Key Findings Details

Caregiving and Work: The Relationship between Labor Market Attachment and Parental Caregiving
Sean Fahle and Kathleen McGarry
WP 2017-356

  • Contrary to expectations, the women who are observed to provide care to a parent at some point during this survey window are not those with weaker attachments to the labor force.
  • Female caregivers have more schooling, are more likely to work full time, and have greater earnings than noncaregivers. They also have higher expected Social Security benefits. By contrast, we do not find similar patterns for those who provide care to parents-in-law.
  • Caregiving reduces the probability of work and hours worked in a simple regression, in a fixed-effects regression, and when controlling for work history using Social Security Administration records. However, we do not find a significant effect of caregiving on annual earnings.
  • At the end of the 20-year period, those women who provided care at some point had significantly lower annual earnings in 2010 than those who did not provide care, and this effect held both unconditionally and conditional on being employed.