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Demography, Culture, and Policy: Understanding Japan's Low Fertility

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  • Patricia Boling

Abstract

Insights into the causes of Japan's prolonged and sharp fall in total fertility rate come from comparing Japan with France. The two countries share dirigiste administrative approaches, family policy reform undertaken under the auspices of pragmatic right wing parties and justified on pronatalist grounds, and involvement of demographic experts in crafting and shepherding such policies. But the countries differ with respect to their total fertility rates (France 1.98, Japan 1.29) and the effectiveness of their family policies. Thus comparing them can help identify areas of divergence that might explain these differences and assist in the project of theory building. Several salient explanations are rooted in Japan's labor market: it exacts high opportunity costs from parents who interrupt their careers to raise children, keeps ideal workers from having much time for their families, assumes and reinforces a traditional gender ideology, and hires few young workers into good jobs. Copyright (c) 2008 The Population Council, Inc..

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  • Patricia Boling, 2008. "Demography, Culture, and Policy: Understanding Japan's Low Fertility," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 34(2), pages 307-326.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:popdev:v:34:y:2008:i:2:p:307-326
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    Cited by:

    1. Helen Peterson & Kristina Engwall, 2016. "Missing Out on the Parenthood Bonus? Voluntarily Childless in a “Child-friendly” Society," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 37(4), pages 540-552, December.
    2. Wei-hsin Yu & Janet Chen-Lan Kuo, 2016. "Explaining the Effect of Parent-Child Coresidence on Marriage Formation: The Case of Japan," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 53(5), pages 1283-1318, October.
    3. repec:eee:enepol:v:115:y:2018:i:c:p:503-513 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Lee, Grace H.Y. & Lee, Sing Ping, 2014. "Childcare availability, fertility and female labor force participation in Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 71-85.
    5. repec:spr:demogr:v:54:y:2017:i:6:d:10.1007_s13524-017-0614-y is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Leslie Root & Jennifer Johnson-Hanks†, 2016. "Gender, Honor, and Aggregate Fertility," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 75(4), pages 904-928, September.
    7. repec:spr:eurase:v:8:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s40822-017-0074-0 is not listed on IDEAS

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