Care work among the elderly and division of labor among the family when market and state are not available

Arodys Robles, Universidad de Costa Rica

The rapid growth of the elderly in developing countries creates a dearth of market and state supply of care services. Care is therefore provided in the form of inter vivos transfers in time and money. We hypothesize that in the absence of the possibility of substituting, availability of kin and resources of the elderly generate different types of transfers within the family. In other words, when the need for care arises, there is an implicit contract within family members to exchange different types of care work or resources. Taking into account different measures of health and functional status, we estimate the relative importance of availability of kin and income and assets of the elderly in determining the type of care they receive or give under different living arrangements. Data come from first wave of the Costa Rican Study on Longevity and Healthy Aging., an ongoing longitudinal study of a nationally representative sample of persons 60 and older.

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Presented in Poster Session 4: Health and ageing