Caregiving to family members comprises a major part of familial obligations in the United States. Informal caregiving is unevenly distributed in society, with women performing most of the work and bearing the burden of its costs. This paper addresses the cost dimension of informal caregiving to family members by examining whether and how it penalizes women’s employment. Drawing data from the 1987 and 1992 National Survey of Families and Households, we examine whether and how caregiving transitions affect changes in women’s labor force participation and the implications of this caregiving transitions for their earnings. We calculate how these effects vary for demographically different groups of women: those older and younger, with and without high levels of education, and married and not married. Our findings reveal that for most women, the initiation of caregiving led to a substantial reduction in their weekly hours worked and annual earnings. However, the effects were different for various subgroups of women: those older, with fewer skills, and more competing roles paid substantial costs if they began caregiving between 1987 and 1992.
Population Research and Policy Review – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 6, 2005
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