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Opting out and topping up reconsidered: Informal care under uncertain altruism

We study the design of public long-term care (LTC) insurance when the altruism of informal caregivers is uncertain. We consider non-linear policies where the LTC transfer depends on the level of informal care, which is assumed to be observable, while children's altruism is not. Our policy encompasses two policies traditionally considered in the literature: topping up policies consisting of a transfer independent of informal care, and opting out policies entailing a positive transfer only if children fail to provide care. We show that both total and informal care should increase with the children's level of altruism. This is obtained under full and asymmetric information. Public LTC transfers, on the other hand, may be non-monotonic. Under asymmetric information, public LTC transfers are lower than their full information level for the parents whose children are the least altruistic, while it is distorted upward for the highest level of altruism. This is explained by the need to provide incentives to highly altruistic children. In contrast to both topping up and opting out policies, the implementing contract is always such that social care increases with informal care. © 2021 Canadian Economics Association

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Canadian Journal of Economics
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