Grandmothers? They choose their grandchildren
When grandmothers are asked to choose between labour supply and child care, they will choose their grandchildren. This is the conclusion of a study by Peter Rupert from the University of California-Santa Barbara and Giulio Zanella from the University of Bologna, recently published in the Journal of Public Economics.
This phenomenon could have an alarming impact if we consider the increase in working age related to the increase in life expectancy.
The study, based on a sample of over 9,000 U.S. families, concluded that, on the one hand, grandparents are a precious support in child care, but on the other, since a high number of grandparents are still in their working age, their desire to take care of their grandchildren results in less attachment to labour market.
“When they are asked to choose between child care and labour supply, grandparents often choose to reduce their labor supply, by reducing their working hours, with a prevalence of part-time or discontinuous jobs”, said Giulio Zanella, researcher of the Department of Economic Sciences of the University of Bologna, study co-author. “This phenomenon, which is especially true for grandmothers, is only potentially an issue since the increase in life expectancy should also increase the working-age period”.
To monitor this, researchers suggest some solutions, including a “grandparental leave” that could offer a working “pause” to grandparents who want to take care of their grandchildren, or a reduction on the taxation of income from work, to encourage grandmothers not to reduce their labour supply, by using the higher income to replace grandparents with babysitters, and promoting nursery and maternal schools.