Family matters: Comparing the predictors of paid work and informal caregiving after age 50 in Italy and South Korea

Ginevra Floridi, London School of Economics and Political Science

Italy and South Korea have familial societies, but provide different levels of state support to the income security of older workers and caregivers. I document how individual resources, adult children’s characteristics and intergenerational transfers of support are associated with working and informal caregiving among parents aged 50 and over, and compare the two countries with respect to these associations.

I pool longitudinal data from the Italian sample of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe and from the Korean Longitudinal Study of Aging. I use random-effects logistic regressions to model the probabilities of working and caregiving on individual and offspring characteristics, using interaction variables to test for differences between the two countries.

In Italy, where societal transfers favour older people, highly educated mothers and parents supporting their adult children financially are more likely to work and provide care. In Korea, where old-age protection is low, working and caregiving are more common among poorer mothers and older parents not receiving support from children.

Intergenerational transfers significantly predict older parents’ participation in working and caregiving in familial societies. Discourses on productive ageing should be reframed for contexts such as Korea, where old-age income security is low.

Presented in Session 9: Individual Ageing 1