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The “Costs” of Informal Care: An Analysis of the Impact of Elderly Care on Caregivers' Subjective Well-being in Japan

Niimi, Yoko (2015): The “Costs” of Informal Care: An Analysis of the Impact of Elderly Care on Caregivers' Subjective Well-being in Japan.

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Abstract

This paper examines the impact of providing informal care to elderly parents on caregivers' subjective well-being using unique data from the "Preference Parameters Study" of Osaka University, a nationally representative survey conducted in Japan. The estimation results indicate heterogeneous effects: while informal elderly care does not have a significant impact on the happiness level of married caregivers regardless of whether they take care of their own parents or parents-in law and whether or not they reside with them, it has a negative and significant impact on the happiness level of unmarried caregivers who take care of their parents outside their home. These findings shed light on the important role that formal care services could play in reducing the burden on caregivers, particularly unmarried caregivers who presumably receive less support from family members.

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