Labor Force Participation of Married Female Immigrants: Evidence from a Low Female-LFPR Host Country

Author Name LIU Yang (Fellow, RIETI) / HAGIWARA Risa (Meikai university)
Creation Date/NO. March 2020 20-E-019
Research Project Empirical Studies on Employment, Migration, and Family Issues of Foreigners in Japan
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This study uses large-scale census data from Japan to present some of the first evidence on labor force participation rate (LFPR) of married female immigrants by focusing on the group of immigrants who migrate from relatively high female-LFPR home countries to low female-LFPR host countries. First, our results indicate that birth-country culture plays an important role in determining female immigrants' labor force participation, which supports the findings in previous studies that examined a converse direction of migration from relatively low female-LFPR home countries to high female-LFPR host countries. Further, the result indicates that both the wife's and husband's source-country culture have significant effects on immigrant women's work, while this effect is greater for the wife's than it is for the husband's. Second, although immigrants usually act more like the natives the longer they live in the host country, after controlling for individual characteristics, the study finds that female immigrants' LFPR does not decrease after a long period of settlement in the low female-LFPR host country of Japan. Conversely, female migrant LFPRs are higher after five years than they are in the initial years after arrival. We suggest that birth-country culture plays a large and persistent role in determining female labor force participation, which leads to cultural assimilation having less significant effects than economic assimilation.