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Can Women Save Japan?

  • Chad Steinberg
  • Masato Nakane
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    Japan's potential growth rate is steadily falling with the aging of its population. This paper explores the extent to which raising female labor participation can help slow this trend. Using a cross-country database we find that smaller families, higher female education, and lower marriage rates are associated with much of the rise in women's aggregate participation rates within countries over time, but that policies are likely increasingly important for explaining differences across countries. Raising female participation could provide an important boost to growth, but women face two hurdles in participating in the workforce in Japan. First, few working women start out in career-track positions, and second, many women drop out of the workforce following childbirth. To increase women’s attachment to work Japan should consider policies to reduce the gender gap in career positions and to provide better support for working mothers.

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    Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 12/248.

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    Length: 51
    Date of creation: 15 Oct 2012
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:12/248
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    1. Eiko Kenjoh, 2005. "New Mothers' Employment and Public Policy in the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Japan," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 19(s1), pages 5-49, December.
    2. Daiji Kawaguchi & Ken Yamada, 2007. "The Impact Of The Minimum Wage On Female Employment In Japan," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 25(1), pages 107-118, 01.
    3. Nawata, Kazumitsu & Ii, Masako, 2004. "Estimation of the labor participation and wage equation model of Japanese married women by the simultaneous maximum likelihood method," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 301-315, September.
    4. Siv S. Gustafsson & Eiko Kenjoh & Cécile M.M.P. Wetzels, 2002. "Postponement of Maternity and the Duration of Time Spent at Home after First Birth: Panel Data Analyses Comparing Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands and Sweden," OECD Labour Market and Social Policy Occasional Papers 59, OECD Publishing.
    5. Andrea Bassanini & Romain Duval, 2006. "Employment Patterns in OECD Countries: Reassessing the Role of Policies and Institutions," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 486, OECD Publishing.
    6. Erling Rasmussen & Jens Lind & Jelle Visser, 2004. "Divergence in Part-Time Work in New Zealand, the Netherlands and Denmark," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 42(4), pages 637-658, December.
    7. Atsuko Ueda, 2007. "A Dynamic Decision Model Of Marriage, Childbearing, And Labour Force Participation Of Women In Japan," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 58(4), pages 443-465.
    8. Masaru Sasaki, 2002. "The Causal Effect of Family Structure on Labor Force Participation among Japanese Married Women," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(2), pages 429-440.
    9. Yoshio Higuchi & Jane Waldfogel & Masahiro Abe, 1999. "Family leave policies and women's retention after childbirth: Evidence from the United States, Britain, and Japan," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 523-545.
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