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

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  • Kambayashi, Ryo
  • Kato, Takao

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, we find no evidence for a shift of male employment toward “bad jobs” during the Lost Decade. Second, for women we find a compositional change from self-employment to nonstandard employment which is, however, found to be a shift from “bad jobs” to “bad jobs” rather than “good jobs” to “bad jobs”. As such, our findings cast doubt on the popular narrative of the long-term negative effect on job quality of the Great Recession. However, for one particular group of Japanese workers-youth, we find compelling evidence in support of the popular narrative. Especially all progresses that young women made in enhancing their share of standard employment during Japan’s high growth decade in the 1980s are found to be entirely undone during the Lost Decade. 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, and such long-term effects may be heterogeneous, concentrating on a specific group of workers such as youth.

Suggested Citation

  • Kambayashi, Ryo & Kato, Takao, 2013. "Good Jobs, Bad Jobs, and the Great Recession: Lessons from Japan’s Lost Decade," PRIMCED Discussion Paper Series 41, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  • Handle: RePEc:hit:primdp:41
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Georg D. BLIND & Stefania LOTTANTI VON MANDACH, 2015. "Decades not Lost, but Won: Increased Employment, Higher Wages, and More Equal Opportunities in the Japanese Labour Market," Social Science Japan Journal, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(1), pages 63-88.
    2. YOKOYAMA Izumi & HIGA Kazuhito & KAWAGUCHI Daiji, 2015. "The Effect of Exchange Rate Fluctuations on Employment in a Segmented Labor Market," Discussion papers 15139, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    3. 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).
    4. Izumi Yokoyama & Kazuhito Higa & Daiji Kawaguchi, 2018. "Adjustments of regular and non-regular workers to exogenous shocks: Evidence from exchange rate fluctuation," Bank of Japan Working Paper Series 18-E-2, Bank of Japan.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    job quality; good jobs and bad jobs; the Great Recession; Lost Decade; Japan;

    JEL classification:

    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts

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