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Childcare availability, fertility and female labor force participation in Japan

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  • Lee, Grace H.Y.
  • Lee, Sing Ping

Abstract

This paper seeks to address the problems of childcare scarcity, declining fertility rates and work-family conflict faced by the growing female labor force in Japan. Japan’s total fertility rate has been declining since the 1970s and it fell below the replacement level of 1.3 in 2003. Since the 1990s, the Japanese government has implemented pro-natal policies such as childcare market deregulation, childcare center expansion in the Angel Plan and New Angel Plan, and provision of childbirth grants. However, these policies have failed to encourage childbirth. With rising labor force participation among Japanese women, the insufficiency of existing childcare center capacity to accommodate children of working mothers has resulted in the problem of wait-listed children. In addition, the failure of childcare centers to mitigate the conflict between women’s work and child raising duties has discouraged women from childbearing. The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship and causality between childcare availability (CA), female labor force participation rate (LFPR) and fertility (TFR) in Japan for the period 1971–2009. A bounds test approach to cointegration establishes the existence of long-run equilibrium relations between CA, TFR and LFPR. Applying the Granger causality method, our results show the absence of Granger-causality running from childcare availability to fertility among females aged 30–39. In the long run, our results show that having more children at home does not discourage the female labor force participation. In addition, we find no evidence which suggests that working women tend to have fewer children. Overall, this study suggests the importance of the Japanese childcare system in supporting female employment.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jjieco:v:32:y:2014:i:c:p:71-85
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jjie.2014.01.002
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    Cited by:

    1. Kato, Takao & Kodama, Naomi, 2015. "Work-Life Balance Practices, Performance-Related Pay, and Gender Equality in the Workplace: Evidence from Japan," IZA Discussion Papers 9379, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Bessho, Shun-ichiro & Hayashi, Masayoshi, 2014. "Intensive margins, extensive margins, and spousal allowances in the Japanese system of personal income taxes: A discrete choice analysis," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 162-178.
    3. Yukiko Asai, Ryo Kambayashi, Shintaro Yamaguchi, 2015. "Crowding-Out Effect of Publicly Provided Childcare: Why Maternal Employment Did Not Increase," ISS Discussion Paper Series (series F) f177, Institute of Social Science, The University of Tokyo.
    4. Griffen, Andrew S. & Nakamuro, Makiko & Inui, Tomohiko, 2015. "Fertility and maternal labor supply in Japan: Conflicting policy goals?," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 52-72.
    5. Asai, Yukiko & Kambayashi, Ryo & Yamaguchi, Shintaro, 2015. "Childcare availability, household structure, and maternal employment," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 172-192.
    6. Nakajima, Ryo & Tanaka, Ryuichi, 2014. "Estimating the effects of pronatal policies on residential choice and fertility," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 179-200.
    7. Sugawara, Shinya & Nakamura, Jiro, 2014. "Can formal elderly care stimulate female labor supply? The Japanese experience," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 98-115.
    8. repec:ksp:journ6:v:4:y:2017:i:1:p:87-93 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. repec:eee:jjieco:v:44:y:2017:i:c:p:67-77 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Nishitateno, Shuhei & Shikata, Masato, 2017. "Has improved daycare accessibility increased Japan's maternal employment rate? Municipal evidence from 2000–2010," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 67-77.
    11. Fukai, Taiyo, 2017. "Childcare availability and fertility: Evidence from municipalities in Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 1-18.
    12. KATO Takao & KODAMA Naomi, 2016. "Corporate Social Responsibility and Gender Diversity in the Workplace: Evidence from Japan," Discussion papers 16063, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Childcare availability; Fertility; Female labor force participation; Bounds testing approach; Granger causality;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor

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