One of the main barriers to the expansion of paid home care for the chronically disabled is the fear that policymakers have that it will cause friends and relatives to curtail their informal caregiving efforts. Using the first wave of the National Long-Term Care Survey, we examine whether the amount of paid home care used by disabled elderly persons had a significant influence on the amount of informal support they were receiving. Results from a two-stage least squares regression analysis suggest that the amount of informal home care received was not significantly affected by the level of formal care. This conclusion held for subgroups of formal care users most likely to exhibit substitution: those without cognitive problems, the disabled elderly with above average income, and persons who lived alone. Even the more severely disabled elderly, who are the target of most proposals to expand paid home care, did not substitute paid care for unpaid. Thus, our study suggests that an increase in paid home care will not erode informal support.

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