Long-term care of the disabled elderly: do children increase caregiving by spouses?
National Bureau of Economic Research, 2008 - Medical - 26 pages
Do adult children affect the care elderly parents provide each other? We develop two models in which the anticipated behavior of adult children provides incentives for elderly parents to increase care for their disabled spouses. The "demonstration effect" postulates that adult children learn from a parent's example that family caregiving is appropriate behavior. The "punishment effect" postulates that adult children may punish parents who fail to provide spousal care by not providing future care for the nondisabled spouse when necessary. Thus, joint children act as a commitment mechanism, increasing the probability that elderly spouses will provide care for each other; stepchildren with weak attachments to their parents provide weaker incentives for spousal care than joint children. Using data from the HRS, we find evidence that spouses provide more care when they have children with strong parental attachment.
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adult child adult children provide altruistic punishment attachment to DP based on child's biological parent caregiving behavior child spent child was 39 child was nine child's age child's attachment child's first 18 child's susceptibility children affect children have low Children Joint Children CODA commitment mechanism coresided couple married degree of attachment demonstration and punishment differences disabled elderly persons disabled husband disabled parent Disabled Person disabled respondent disabled spouse elderly parents entire childhood failing to provide family caregiving family structure half her childhood high attachment Hours of Spousal Independent Variables intensity of spousal joint child length of parent's long-term low attachment married couples Massachusetts Avenue Model NBER nondisabled parent nondisabled spouse Number otherwise parent's marriage prior marriage ended proportion of total provided by spouses spent about half statistically significant Stepfamilies stepfather stepmother provides stepparent subsequent relationship susceptibility to influence three subcases Tobit models total care provided unpartnered versus weak attachment