How does caregiving impact employment and earnings? – Healthcare Economist

This is the question posed by a recent NBER working paper by Nicole Maestas, Matt Messel and Yulya Truskinovsky (2023) objective to respond. The authors use data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) among individuals who report providing unpaid care to family and friends. The SIPP data is then linked to earnings data from the Social Security Administration. Caregivers are compared to similar people based on their demographics and income/employment history. Using this approach, the authors find the following results by gender:

Before women begin providing care, there is no difference in their employment or income trajectories and those of those who are not caregivers or will be future caregivers. However, in the three years after women begin providing care, employment of caregivers falls 2.7 percentage points (4 percent) relative to employment of future caregivers, or 2.1 percentage points relative to non-caregivers. The employment gap between caregivers and comparison groups narrows three to five years after caregiving begins. The average annual income of female caregivers falls almost $1,000 (4 percent) in the first three years after caregiving begins, relative to the income of future caregivers, and remains about $600 less in years three to five, although the longer-term difference is not statistically significant.

For men, the picture is quite different. Male caregivers’ employment and earnings begin to decline five or more years before men begin providing unpaid care, relative to the trajectories of noncaregiver men and future caregivers. After entering caregiving, male caregivers experience an additional decline in employment of 3.7 percentage points (5 percent) relative to the control group of future caregivers. Male caregivers remain out of the labor force longer than women, as the employment gap between male caregivers and their control groups persists between years three and five rather than narrowing as seen for women. caregivers.

You can read the summary of the NBER summary. here and the complete document here.

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