Unpaid family caregivers must consider the economic trade-off between caregiving and paid employment. Prior literature has suggested that labor force participation (LFP) declines with caregiving intensity, but no study has evaluated this relationship by accounting for the presence of both kinks and discontinuities. Here we used respondents of the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study baseline survey who were nonfarming, of working age (aged 45–60) and had a young grandchild and/or a parent/parent-in-law. For women and men separately, a caregiving threshold-adjusted probit model was used to assess the association between LFP and weekly unpaid caregiving hours. Instrumental variables were used to rule out the endogeneity of caregiving hours. Of the 3718 respondents in the analysis, LFP for men was significantly and inversely associated with caregiving that involved neither discontinuities nor kinks. For women, a kink was identified at the caregiving threshold of eight hrs/w such that before eight hours, each caregiving hour was associated with an increase of 0.0257 in the marginal probability of LFP, but each hour thereafter was associated with a reduction of 0.0014 in the marginal probability of LFP. These results have implications for interventions that simultaneously advance policies of health, social care and labor force.
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