Do Public Caregiving Subsidies and Supports affect the Provision of Care and Transfers?

Authors: Joan Costa-Font, Sergi Jiménez-Martín and Cristina Vilaplana Prieto

Journal of Health Economics, Vol. 84, July, 2022

We study whether caregiving and intergenerational transfer decisions are sensitive to changes in economic incentives following the inception of a new unconditional and universal system of allowances and supports, after the introduction of the 2006 Promotion of Personal Autonomy and Care for Dependent Persons Act (SAAD in Spanish), and the ensuing effects of its austerity cuts after 2012. We find that whilst the introduction of a caregiving allowance (of a maximum value of €530 in 2011) increased the supply of informal caregiving by 20-22 percentual points (pp), the inception of a companion system of publicly subsidised homecare supports did not modify the supply of care. Consistent with an exchange motive for intergenerational transfers, we estimate an average 17 pp (8.2-8.7pp) increase (decrease) in downstream (upstream) transfers among those receiving caregiving allowances. Our estimates resulting from the reduction in the allowances and supports after the austerity cuts in 2012 are consistent with our main estimates, and suggest stronguer effects among lower-income families.