Women, Work, and Caring for Aging Parents: Modelling Difference by Education in the Panel Study of Income Dynamics

Melody Waring , University of Wisconsin-Madison

How does caring for an aging parent affect women’s labor force outcomes? And do labor force effects vary by socioeconomic status? In this paper, I build on the existing literature by (1) using a sample of women of all ages in the 2013 Panel Study of Income Dynamics (N=5,296); (2) testing for a moderating effect by education. I also attempt a causal estimate of the effect of caregiving by instrumenting care with parental health and distance to parent. Preliminary associative results find caregivers are as likely to be employed as non-caregivers, but for lower wages. This pattern holds by education, except among caregivers over 51 with low education—who are slightly less likely to be employed, but among employed comparators work many more hours. Preliminary causal estimates suggest caregiving results in higher employment overall (even among women caring at least 10 hours/week), but lower employment for women with low education.

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 Presented in Session 6. Health & Mortality & Aging