Can Women Save Japan?

Author/Editor: Chad Steinberg ; Masato Nakane
Publication Date: October 15, 2012
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Disclaimer: This Working Paper should not be reported as representing the views of the IMF. The views expressed in this Working Paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the IMF or IMF policy. Working Papers describe research in progress by the author(s) and are published to elicit comments and to further debate
Summary: 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.
Series: Working Paper No. 12/248
Subject(s): Women | Japan | Labor markets | Aging | Population

Notes Also available in Japanese
Publication Date: October 15, 2012
ISBN/ISSN: 9781475512922/1018-5941 Format: Paper
Stock No: WPIEA2012248 Pages: 51
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