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The Effect of Higher Education on the Rate of Labor-Force Exit for Married Japanese Women

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image of International Journal of Comparative Sociology
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This study investigates the impact of higher education on the rates of married Japanese women leaving the labor force. The data is drawn from interviews with 819 mothers of fourth and fifth grade students who participated in the School District Survey conducted in Central Japan. The subsample used for the analyses consists of 587 currently married women between the ages of 30 and 49 who have at least one child. Discrete-time logit models were used to estimate the effects of education on the risk of labor-force exit as defined by labor-force withdrawal lasting one year or longer. The controlling variables include women's wages, firm size/type, work status, and the husband's education, firm size/type, and income. The results show that in the early stages of career development, university graduates have a higher probability of leaving the labor force. In the later stages, however, university graduates are more likely to stay in the labor force. Marital status and parental status do not affect the employment decisions of university graduates as strongly as they affect those of high-school graduates. The occupational profiles of the highly educated "stayers" are represented by the teaching profession and civil servants, indicating that the change in the patterns of Japanese female labor-force participation behavior is still limited to a small number of occupations.


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