Long-term care and births timing

Abstract : Due to the ageing process, the provision of long-term care (LTC) to the dependent elderly has become a major challenge of our epoch. But at the same time, our societies are characterized, since the 1970s, by a significant postponement of births. This paper aims at examining the impact of those demographic trends on the optimal family policy. We develop a four-period OLG model where individuals, who receive children's informal LTC at the old age, must choose, when being young, how to allocate births along their lifecycle. It is shown that early children provide more LTC to their elderly parents than late children, because of the lower opportunity cost of providing LTC when being retired. In comparison with the social optimum, individuals have, at the laissez-faire, too few children early in their life, and too many later on in their life. The decentralization of the first-best optimum requires thus to subsidize early births. We study also the design of the optimal subsidy on early births in a second-best setting. Its level depends on efficiency and equity issues, as well as on its incidence on the long-run population composition and on LTC provision.
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Pierre Pestieau, Grégory Ponthière. Long-term care and births timing. 2015. ⟨halshs-01131236⟩

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