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The relationship between elder care-giving and labour force participation in the context of policies addressing population ageing: a review of empirical studies published between 2006 and 2016



This paper systematically reviews empirical research published between 2006 and 2016 on the relationship between informal care-giving to elders and labour force participation (LFP). It does so in the context of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development policy responses to population ageing. In this context, conclusions regarding the LFP and care-giving relationship should at least be applicable to the sub-population of working-aged individuals who are most likely to provide informal elder care. Currently, these are women in mid-life and the recipients of their care are mostly extra-residential parents. The review's key conclusion is that mid-life women care-givers of elderly parents are significantly likely to reduce their working hours and also to work fewer hours relative to their non-care-giving counterparts. In drawing this conclusion, the review shows that studies finding only modest care-giving effects on LFP either do not adequately control for care-giving intensity or their conclusions apply to sub-populations less likely to be affected by policies addressing population ageing.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Margaret Malke Moussa, School of Business, Western Sydney University, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith, New South Wales, Australia E-mail:


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