VID Colloquium

Changing Roles of Women’s Earnings Potential in Marriage Formation in Japan

Setsuya Fukuda, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

Date: Wed, 2 February 2011 , Time: 14:00-15:00

Japan is one of a few developed countries in which marriage and higher earning potential among women are negatively associated. As the proportion of births occurring outside of marriage remains low in Japan, fertility is still significantly influenced by marriage trends, which are in turn influenced by societal expectations regarding the marriageability of women with high economic potential. Previous studies have suggested that the economic independence is at the root of this negative relationship, but how persistent will this relationship prove to be? As women’s education rapidly catches up with men’s while young men’s economic prospects are stagnated, there is reason to suspect that marriage patterns are also in transition in recent Japan. This study examines the latest marriage behavior among Japanese women from 1993 to 2008, focusing on the relationship between women’s economic emancipation and marriage in a gender-traditional society. Using a longest panel survey available in Japan, the study will first demonstrate that the effects of women’s education and earnings have reversed, and are now in fact positive. The study discusses the social meaning of the change and suggests prospects of future research on demography of Japanese families.

About the presenter

Setsuya Fukuda is a research scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany, since 2008. In 2007, he received his PhD in economics from Meiji University in Tokyo, where he has also obtained his master degree. His research interests are marriage, fertility and changing life course trajectories of young adults in Japan.


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