The division of family labor: Care for elderly parents

Douglas A. Wolf, Vicki Freedman, Beth J. Soldo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

152 Scopus citations


We consider the division of caregiving efforts among the children of older, functionally limited parents. Our model of parental care assumes that care decisions are made in the context of an extended family, with each child taking into account not only the parent's needs and the child's own circumstances, but also the characteristics and actual care behavior of siblings. We propose a simultaneous-Tobit statistical framework that embodies these assumptions. The model is estimated using data from the 1993 Asset and Health Dynamics Among the Oldest Old (AHEAD) study. The findings indicate that a child's hours of parent care are reduced, but on much less than a one- for-one basis, as the parent-care hours of siblings increase. We also find that a child's supply of parent-care hours is reduced by having sisters, holding constant the care efforts of siblings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)102-109
Number of pages8
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue numberSPEC. ISS.
StatePublished - May 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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