The division of parent care between spouses: a question of the household division of labour?

Ursula Henz, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

The paper addresses the circumstances under which spouses cooperate in providing informal care for their parents. It discusses the conceptualization of informal caring as family labour, pointing out commonalities and differences to other forms of family labour. The paper derives hypotheses about the division of informal caring between spouses based on time-availability considerations; the relative resources of the spouses; and their joint resources. The research uses data from the 1985, 1990, 1995 and 2000 waves of the British General Household Survey, that asked all adult household members about informal caring. The combined data set includes 2214 couples in which at least one spouse provided informal care for a parent or parent-in-law at the time of the interview. The empirical part establishes husbands’ and wives’ contribution to parent care and estimates multivariate models for sons-in-law’s and daughters-in-law’s participation in parent care.

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Presented in Session 62: The Gender Division of Domestic Work