Do ut des: do elderly benefit from grandparenting in terms of cognitive abilities?

Bruno Arpino, Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Valeria Bordone, Vienna University of Economics and Business

Mental abilities naturally decline as people become older. However, maintaining good cognitive skills is vital for a good quality of life in old age and how this could be attained is a topic of high interest in ageing societies. We explore to what extent grandparenting, i.e. taking care of grandchildren without the presence of the children’s parents, acting as a protective factor, can help elderly in preserving good cognitive abilities. Drawing empirically causal conclusions on the link between grandparenting and grandparents’ cognitive skills is a difficult task because of possible confounding effects and reverse causality. We address the endogeneity issues by using an Instrumental Variable approach. Results show that grandparents benefit from taking care of grandchildren in terms of better cognitive skills than non-grandparents.

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Presented in Session 93: Health and wellbeing at older ages