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Maria Stanfors. Foto.

Maria Stanfors


Maria Stanfors. Foto.

Caregiving time costs and tradeoffs with paid work and leisure: Evidence from Sweden, the UK and Canada


  • Josephine Jacobs
  • Jeffrey Neilson
  • Maria Stanfors

Summary, in English

Population ageing places pressure on pensions and health care services, creating an imperative to extend working lives. Alongside this, there has been increased political emphasis in Europe and elsewhere on the provision of care in the home. Many older people will increasingly be challenged by the responsibilities of caring for the sick, disabled and elderly, and participating in the labor market. In this paper, we investigate the conflicts that arise from this. We explore time costs of unpaid care and how caregiving time is traded off against time in paid work and leisure among men and women in three distinct policy contexts. We use time diary data from Sweden, the UK and Canada from 2000 to 2011 and conduct multivariate analyses. Results indicate that women provide more informal care across country contexts, net of other factors. However, the impact of informal care on labor supply is not gendered. We find differences by country, with caregivers in the UK and Canada, particularly those involved in intensive caregiving, reducing paid work in order to provide unpaid care. Though caregivers in Sweden do not trade off time spent in paid work with time in caregiving, they do decrease leisure. Our findings support the idea that the more extensive social infrastructure for caring in Sweden may diminish the labor market effects of intensive unpaid care, but highlight that throughout contexts, respite care policies are an important support for caregivers who are decreasing leisure time to provide unpaid care.


  • Centrum för ekonomisk demografi
  • Ekonomisk-historiska institutionen






Lund Papers in Economic Demography




Working paper


Center for Economic Demography, Lund University


  • Economic History




  • Longer working lives and unpaid caregiving: costs, conflicts and tradeoffs in a comparative perspective
  • Longer working lives and informal caregiving: Tradeoffs and economic value