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Good Jobs, Bad Jobs, and the Great Recession: Lessons from Japan's Lost Decade

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Author Info

  • Kambayashi, Ryo

    ()
    (Hitotsubashi University)

  • Kato, Takao

    ()
    (Colgate University)

Abstract

This paper provides novel evidence on the long-term effect of the Great Recession on the quality of jobs, in particular whether the Great Recession results in the replacement of "good jobs" (characterized by high wage/benefit, job security, and opportunity for training and development) with "bad jobs" (characterized by the lack of such attributes). Unfortunately there is not yet sufficiently long data from the recent Great Recession that enable researchers to study fully its long-term consequences for the labor market structure. To this end, we examine Japan's Lost Decade, the original Great Recession that occurred two decades ago. First, insofar as male workers are concerned, we find evidence against the popular narrative that during Japan's Lost Decade there was a significant shift of the composition of employment toward "bad jobs." Second, we find that the composition of female workers shifted significantly toward "bad jobs" and that such a shift occurred primarily through an increased use of a hybrid employment contract of nonstandard employment with indefinite contracts. Third, young women in Japan made considerable progress in shifting the composition of their employment toward "good jobs" during Japan's growth decade preceding the Lost Decade. We find that such progress was entirely undone during the Great Recession. Obviously the Great Recession affects the quantity of jobs and policy makers ought to pay immediate attention to such quantity effects. However, the Great Recession may also have more long-term structural effects on the quality of jobs.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6666.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6666

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Keywords: job quality; good jobs; bad jobs; Great Recession; Lost Decade; Japan;

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  1. Esteban-Pretel, Julen & Nakajima, Ryo & Tanaka, Ryuichi, 2011. "Are contingent jobs dead ends or stepping stones to regular jobs? Evidence from a structural estimation," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 513-526, August.
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  4. Takao Kato, 2003. "The Recent Transformation of Participatory Employment Practices in Japan," NBER Chapters, in: Labor Markets and Firm Benefit Policies in Japan and the United States, pages 39-80 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. ASANO Hirokatsu & ITO Takahiro & KAWAGUCHI Daiji, 2011. "Why Has the Fraction of Contingent Workers Increased? A case study of Japan," Discussion papers 11021, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
  8. Henry S. Farber, 2011. "Job Loss in the Great Recession: Historical Perspective from the Displaced Workers Survey, 1984-2010," NBER Working Papers 17040, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Moriguchi, Chiaki & Ono, Hiroshi, 2004. "Japanese Lifetime Employment: A Century's Perspective," EIJS Working Paper Series 205, The European Institute of Japanese Studies.
  10. Yoshifumi Nakata & Ryoji Takehiro, 2003. "Total Labor Costs and the Employment Adjustment Behavior of Large Japanese Firms," NBER Chapters, in: Labor Markets and Firm Benefit Policies in Japan and the United States, pages 135-156 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Morita, Hodaka, 2001. "Choice of Technology and Labour Market Consequences: An Explanation of U.S.-Japanese Differences," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(468), pages 29-50, January.
  12. Ogura, Seiritsu & Tachibanaki, Toshiaki & Wise, David A. (ed.), 2003. "Labor Markets and Firm Benefit Policies in Japan and the United States," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226620947.
  13. Yuji Genda, 2003. "Who Really Lost Jobs in Japan? Youth Employment in an Aging Japanese Society," NBER Chapters, in: Labor Markets and Firm Benefit Policies in Japan and the United States, pages 103-134 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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