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The absence of conflict between paid-work hours and the provision of instrumental support to elderly parents among middle-aged women and men


This study assesses the relationship between the number of work hours and the provision of instrumental support to parents among 779 middle-aged women and men in dual-worker couples in The Netherlands. Using data from the Netherlands Kinship Panel Study collected during 2002–04, we estimate a simultaneous two-stage probit least-squares model, which takes into account that the competing time and financial demands of a person's engagement in paid work and parental support are endogenous. We explicitly control for the effects of partners' earnings, housework and parent-support contributions, and of co-resident children's time demands and help with domestic tasks. Contrary to expectations, the results do not reveal a conflict between paid work and giving support to parents. Several possible explanations are discussed. The results emphasise the importance of the household context, in that the work hours of both women and men depend on other household members' activities and finances, as does men's provision of parent-support. The striking lack of relationships between women's provision of parental support and any individual and contextual characteristic demonstrates the persistence of gendered roles in family members giving support.

Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Anne E. van Putten, Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, Anna van Hannoverstraat 4, 2595 BJ The Hague, The Netherlands E-mail:
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