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Does grandparenting pay off?: The effect of child care on grandparents' cognitive functioning
Arpino, Bruno , April, 2014
Journal of Marriage and Family, 76(2), 337-351

The authors examined whether the provision of child care helps older adults maintain better cognitive functioning. Descriptive evidence from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (n = 5,610 women and n = 4,760 men, ages 50-80) shows that intensively engaged grandparents have lower cognitive scores than the others. The authors show that this result is attributable to background characteristics and not to child care per se. Using an instrumental variable approach, they found that providing child care has a positive effect on 1 of the 4 cognitive tests considered: verbal fluency. For the other cognitive tests, no statistically significant effect was found. Given the same level of engagement, they found very similar results for grandmothers and grandfathers. These findings point to the inclusion of grandparenting among other cognitively stimulating social activities and the need to consider such benefits when discussing the implications of this important type of nonmonetary intergenerational transfer. (author abstract)

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Should we care that they care?: Grandchild care and its impact on grandparent health
Reinkowski, Janina, July, 2013
(Ifo Working Paper No. 165). Munich, Germany: Ifo-Institut fur Wirtschaftsforschung (Ifo Institute for Economic Research Munich).

This paper investigates the impact of occasional grandchild care on grandparent health using the pan-European dataset SHARE on elderly people. We find a small but statistically significant positive correlation between grandchild care and physical health, cognitive functioning and mental health. These relationships are robust to controlling for sociodemographic characteristics, social engagement, and intergenerational support. Using propensity score matching, we can show that the findings are also robust to the underlying functional form. To see whether they can be interpreted as causal, we exploit the panel character of the data and use an instrumental variable approach. Applying these methods, the effects seem to be smaller than the OLS correlations suggested. (author abstract)

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Research Connections is supported by grant #90YE0104 from the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The contents are solely the responsibility of the National Center for Children in Poverty and the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, the Administration for Children and Families, or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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