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Lifetime employment in Japan: Concepts and measurements

  • Ono, Hiroshi

This paper addresses three questions: (1) How big is lifetime employment in Japan? (2) How unique is it? and (3) How is it changing? Through the use of multiple data sets and methods, I find that no more than 20% of workers in Japan are likely to be employed under informal lifetime employment contracts, a far smaller percentage than has been reported. Job mobility remains considerably lower in Japan than in other advanced economies (particularly the US). Evidence regarding changes in lifetime employment is mixed. The share of workers in the core is declining, but the probability of job separations has remained stable for those who are already in the system. There is also evidence that the economic stagnation of the 1990s disproportionately affected females and younger workers.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of the Japanese and International Economies.

Volume (Year): 24 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 1-27

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jjieco:v:24:y:2010:i:1:p:1-27
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622903

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  1. Hall, Robert E, 1982. "The Importance of Lifetime Jobs in the U.S. Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(4), pages 716-24, September.
  2. Hashimoto, Masanori & Raisian, John, 1985. "Employment Tenure and Earnings Profiles in Japan and the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 721-35, September.
  3. Houseman, Susan N & Abraham, Katharine G, 1993. "Female Workers as a Buffer in the Japanese Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 45-51, May.
  4. Neumark, David & Polsky, Daniel & Hansen, Daniel, 1999. "Has Job Stability Declined Yet? New Evidence for the 1990s," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(4), pages S29-64, October.
  5. Marcus Rebick, 2000. "Japanese Labour Markets: Can we Expect Significant Change?," Economics Series Working Papers 21, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  6. Gregg, Paul & Wadsworth, Jonathan, 1995. "A Short History of Labour Turnover, Job Tenure, and Job Security, 1975-93," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(1), pages 73-90, Spring.
  7. Francis X. Diebold & David Neumark & Daniel Polsky, 1994. "Job Stability in the United States," NBER Working Papers 4859, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Ono, Hiroshi, 2006. "Lifetime Employment in Japan: Concepts and Measurements," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 624, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 06 Apr 2007.
  9. Flath, David, 2005. "The Japanese Economy," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, edition 2, number 9780199278619, March.
  10. Hiroshi Ono & Marcus E. Rebick, 2003. "Constraints on the Level and Efficient Use of Labor in Japan," NBER Working Papers 9484, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Ureta, Manuelita, 1992. "The Importance of Lifetime Jobs in the U.S. Economy, Revisited," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 322-35, March.
  12. Clark, Robert L & Ogawa, Naohiro, 1992. "Employment Tenure and Earnings Profiles in Japan and the United States: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 336-45, March.
  13. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521642408 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. E. Paul Durrenberger, 2005. "Labour," Chapters, in: A Handbook of Economic Anthropology, chapter 8 Edward Elgar.
  15. Kato, Takao, 2001. "The End of Lifetime Employment in Japan?: Evidence from National Surveys and Field Research," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 489-514, December.
  16. Peter AUER & Sandrine CAZES, 2000. "The resilience of the long-term employment relationship: Evidence from the industrialized countries," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 139(4), pages 379-408, December.
  17. Rebick Marcus E., 1993. "The Persistence of Firm-Size Earnings Differentials and Labor Market Segmentation in Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 132-156, June.
  18. Hiroshi Ono & Marcus Rebick, 2003. "Constraints on the Level and Efficient Use of Labor," NBER Chapters, in: Structural Impediments to Growth in Japan, pages 225-258 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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