Scars of the Job Market "Ice-Age"

Author Name KONDO Ayako (Faculty Fellow, RIETI)
Creation Date/NO. June 2023 23-E-042
Research Project Evaluation of the Effects of Institutional and Environmental Factors on Family Formation, Parental Labor Market Performance and Children's Academic Performance
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Existing studies found that entering the labor market during a recession has persistent negative effects – the scarring effects - on employment earnings for Japanese men. The cohorts who entered the labor market during the prolonged recession between 1993-2004 are called “the ice-age cohorts,” and the persistent gap between the ice-age cohorts and older cohorts who entered the labor market during the bubble economy are often interpreted as having this scarring effect of business cycle conditions at entry. However, the existing studies in Japan use data covering cohorts who enter the labor market in the 1990s or earlier. Motivated by the lack of empirical evidence with updated data, this paper revisits the scarring effects of a recession at labor market entry on employment and earnings using data covering graduation cohorts from 1984-2013. I find that younger cohorts who enter the labor market during the recovery do not earn more or enjoy more stable employment than the cohorts who enter the bottom of the ice-age, and that the effects of unemployment rate at entry are no longer statistically significant for cohorts who enter the labor market after the job market ice-age. I also discuss potential factors that may have weakened scarring effects.

Forthcoming: Kondo, Ayako. "Scars of the job market “Ice-Age”," Social Science Japan Journal.