Opportunities, norms and informal care provision: Effects of care provision on caregivers’ health and labour force participation
In this project, we estimate the effects of informal long-term care provision on female labor force participation. We argue that the vast expansion of nursing homes in Germany (and its regional variations) can be considered a natural experiment that helps to identify these effects. In 1950, Germany had a couple of hundred nursing homes while this number increased to currently more than 12.000. This increase went along with a change in social norms to care for own parents and parents-in-law. While care dependency increased, too, due to technological progress in medicine, the rise in nursing home capacities allowed women to pass on care obligations for their frail parents and, instead, participate in the labor market. Apart from the decline in fertility and rising education, this might have added to increased female labor force participation rates in recent decades.
We collect information on all nursing homes and set up a novel panel with information on availability of nursing homes on the year-district level for several decades. This district information can be merged to individual level Microzensus data from 1970 onwards. We will then run reduced-form regressions of female health and labor force status on nursing home supply. Thereby, we argue that regional variations in the timing of nursing home openings are plausibly exogenous (conditional on state fixed effects and state-specific linear trends).