Female Labor Force Participation in Asia: Lessons from the Nordics

Author Name KINOSHITA Yuko  (Consulting Fellow, RIETI) /GUO Fang  (Hubei University)
Creation Date/NO. August 2015 15-E-102
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Both Japan and Korea are trying to boost female labor force participation (FLFP) as they face the challenges of a rapidly aging population. Though FLFP has generally been on a rising trend, the female labor force in both countries is skewed towards non-regular employment despite women's high education levels. This paper empirically examines what helps Japan and Korea to increase FLFP by type (i.e., regular vs. non-regular employment), using the structural vector autoregression (SVAR) model. In so doing, we compare these two Asian countries with two Nordic countries: Norway and Finland. The main findings are: (i) child cash allowances tend to reduce the proportion of regular female employment in Japan and Korea, (ii) the persistent gender wage gap encourages more non-regular employment, (iii) a greater proportion of regular female employment is associated with higher fertility, and (iv) there is a need for more public spending on childcare for ages 6-11 in Japan and Korea to help women continue to work.