Informal, formal, or both? Assessing the drivers of home care utilization in Austria using a simultaneous decision framework

Understanding the relationship between different modes of home care for the elderly and the determinants of mode choice is fundamental for an efficient care policy in ageing societies. However, empirical research on this issue has revealed that policy conclusions will depend on both national and methodological factors. Using data for Austria from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe, the purpose of the present paper is twofold: First, at least to our knowledge, it is the first comprehensive assessment of this kind for Austria. Second, it adds to the literature explicitly focusing on the combined use of informal and formal care in addition to the exclusive use of these services based on an econometric framework accounting for the simultaneity and interdependence between these modes. Our results provide strong evidence for a task-specific and complementary relation of formal and informal home care in Austria, with the health status and functional limitations as the main determinants of home care choice.