Sustainability Threat. Caring for others is a cooperative act and individuals differ in their inclination to invest time and energy in care tasks. Institutional arrangements, including solidarity norms, strongly influence the willingness to help. The retreat of the welfare state increases the demand for care by kin and non-kin, but at the same time, changing family structures and later retirement limit the supply of care. How can the provision of care be reshaped in order to guarantee both individual and societal wellbeing?

State of the Art. So far, research has mainly concentrated on how individuals and families deal with the increasing demand for care. Whereas an increase of caregiving sometimes leads to positive experiences, it also undermines wellbeing. Reshaping Care puts the focus on parties other than the family. To date, the major focus has been on the importance of country-level institutions, but little on community-level institutions.

Main Proposition. We study the conditions under which changes in the availability of external formal or informal caregivers may increase (indicating complementarity) or decrease (indicating substitution) the supply of care within the family. The SCOOP approach suggests three ways in which families may keep their care efforts sustainable when facing sudden or gradual fluctuations in the supply of external care opportunities: if they succeed in allocating degrees of responsibility for different care tasks, if their caregiver identity remains aligned with their (changing) other identities, and if they have access to resource brokers, i.e. inter-organizationally networked neighborhood institutions.

Main outcome. This challenge solves the problem of demand and supply for care in families and communities, and provides policy guidelines to increase the complementarity between different care providers and institutions at community level.


1.3 The Provision of Care: Decentralization and Cooperation


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