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Stanfors M, Jacobs JC, Neilson J. Caregiving time costs and trade-offs: Gender differences in Sweden, the UK, and Canada. SSM - population health. 2019 Dec 1; 9:100501.
Abstract: Population ageing is putting pressure on pension systems and health care services, creating an imperative to extend working lives. At the same time, policy makers throughout Europe and North America are trying to expand the use of home care over institutional services. Thus, the number of people combining caregiving responsibilities with paid work is growing. We investigate the conflicts that arise from this by exploring the time costs of unpaid care and how caregiving time is traded off against time in paid work and leisure in three distinct policy contexts. We analyze how these tradeoffs differ for men and women (age 50-74), using time diary data from Sweden, the UK and Canada from 2000 to 2015. Results show that women provide more unpaid care in each country, but the impact of unpaid care on labor supply is similar for male and female caregivers. Caregivers in the UK and Canada, particularly those involved in intensive caregiving, reduce paid work in order to provide unpaid care. Caregivers in Sweden do not trade off time in paid work with time in caregiving, but they have less leisure time. Our findings support the idea that the more extensive social infrastructure for caring in Sweden may diminish the labor market effects of unpaid care, but highlight that throughout contexts, intensive caregivers make important labor and leisure tradeoffs. Respite care and financial support policies are important for caregivers who are decreasing labor and leisure time to provide unpaid care.