Effect of Informal Care on Work, Wages, and Wealth

Courtney Harold Van HoutvenMeghan Skira Norma B. Coe

WP#2010-23

Abstract

Cross-sectional evidence in the United States finds that informal caregivers have less attachment to the labor force, measured both by the number of hours worked and labor force participation. The causal mechanism is unclear: do children who work less become informal caregivers, or are children who become caregivers working less? Using longitudinal data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), this project identifies the relationship between informal care and labor force participation in the United States, both on the intensive and extensive margins, and whether there are wage penalties from informal care. We use our results to examine retirement wealth effects, in particular, changes in Social Security benefits…

Courtney Harold Van Houtven is a research scientist at the Durham VA and an assistant professor at Duke University Medical Center. Norma Coe is the associate director of research at the Center for Retirement Research (CRR). Meghan Skira is a graduate research assistant at the CRR.