This study seeks to estimate the effects of problems in labour force participation and unmet needs for formal care on informal caregiving. Using information for 2007 from Eurobarometer 283/Wave 67.3 for the EU-27 and the two candidate countries, Turkey and Croatia, we estimate a trivariate probit model dealing with the potential endogeneity of labour force participation problems and unmet needs for formal care. The results suggest that in the context of labour force participation problems, there is also an increased probability of observing unmet needs for formal care. Yet the effect is not homogenous for all the countries. We distinguish three groups of countries. In the first group, it is as likely that unmet needs for formal care will be observed in the context of labour force participation problems as it is vice versa. In the second group, there is a lower incidence of problems in labour force participation in the presence of unmet needs for formal care, which points to a higher degree of efficiency in the long-term care system or more protective employment regulations. And in the final group there is a high concentration of unmet needs for formal care for the dependents of informal caregivers who experience labour force participation problems; moreover, even in the absence of unmet needs, the informal caregivers still face difficulties in continuing their working lives. This evidence suggests that not only is it necessary to promote favourable conditions for working caregivers but also that shortfalls in long-term care may partially override the success of work-related policies.
Cristina Vilaplana Prieto is Associate Professor of the Department of Economic Analysis at the University of Murcia, Spain.