Unpaid Care Work Production, Consumption, and Transfers in an Aging World

Gretchen Donehower , University of California, Berkeley

Unpaid care work (UCW) is a major component of parental investment, of services provided to elders, and of the way we sustain society. Cultural, political, and economic institutions have developed over generations to supply this UCW, but as populations age and the demand for UCW shifts, those institutions will face challenges to balance demand and supply. This paper will document the consumption, production, and transfers of UCW by age and sex across a diverse set of countries, revealing distinct patterns of care. Empirical patterns are then combined with population projections to gauge potential excesses or shortfalls of care in a future population likely to be substantially older than it is today. Whether a nation is projected to have a surplus or shortage of UCW depends both on the nation’s demographic trajectory and its particular system of UCW.

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 Presented in Session 74. Demography of Formal and Informal Care