Publication details

Does part-time employment reduce the conflict between work and inter-generational care?

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Year of publication 2014
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Description Policies supporting longer working careers may have several unintended consequences and may, for instance, negatively impact fertility and employment in the younger generations. Many parents seek grandparental help with childcare, which may be less often available if grandparents increase their labor market participation. While the (potential) impact of grandparent’s employment on grandparental caregiving has been examined repeatedly, the findings have been inconsistent so far. These inconsistencies may result from model misspecification and inadequate measurement of crucial variables. Furthermore, we hypothesize that there exist previously overlooked gender differences in this impact: women are generally more capable of combining paid work with childcare and are thus expected to experience role conflict to a lesser degree than men. We revisit the issue of the impact of employment attachment on grandparental caregiving and analyze SHARE data from 19 countries in both the overall population and specific sub-populations. We indeed find significant negative effects of employment on the intensity of intergenerational caregiving (but not so much on provision of any care). This effect, however, is observed among grandmothers only and only exists when grandmothers work full-time. Hence, we argue that active ageing policies and prolonged occupational careers do not inevitably result in reduced intergenerational care as long as enough part-time (self-)employment opportunities exist.
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