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Mental health effects of caregivers respite: subsidies or supports?

Costa-Font, Joan ORCID: 0000-0001-7174-7919 and Vilaplana-Prieto, Cristina (2022) Mental health effects of caregivers respite: subsidies or supports? Journal of the Economics of Ageing, 23. ISSN 2212-828X

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.jeoa.2022.100398


We study the causal effect of the introduction of caregiving respite in the form of hours of home help (caregiving supports) and financial subsidy (caregiving allowance) on the mental health of caregivers. We exploit evidence of a policy intervention that universalized previously means-tested caregiving subsidies and supports in Spain. Our estimates suggest evidence of an heterogeneous effect depending on the intensity of care provided. We find that caregiving supports reduce the probability of depressive symptoms among caregivers providing more than 50 hours of care. In contrast, caregiving subsidies give rise to a reduction in the probability of depressive symptoms among caregivers providing less than 50 hours of care. Consistently, we find evidence of an improvement in life satisfaction upon the receipt of subsidies and home supports. The latter effect is higher among part-time caregivers who spend between 20 and 50 caregiving hours/week which is explained by behavioural and preventive lifestyle changes. Finally, we estimate the ‘hypothetical caregiving subsidy’ amount that would have fully compensated caregivers’ for their wellbeing losses. We find estimates ranging between 800 and 850 euros/month, a magnitude well above the actual subsidy in Spain.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2022 Elsevier B.V.
Divisions: Health Policy
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
JEL classification: I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I1 - Health > I18 - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J2 - Time Allocation, Work Behavior, and Employment Determination and Creation; Human Capital; Retirement > J22 - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2022 10:00
Last Modified: 05 Sep 2022 08:36

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