COLLOQUIUM James Raymo (Princeton University). Diverging destinies in Japan: Educational differences in the cumulative effects of maternal employment on the development of Japanese children
Organize: Centre d'Estudis Demogràfics
Time: 12:00 - 13:00
Title: Diverging destinies in Japan: Educational differences in the cumulative effects of maternal employment on the development of Japanese children
Abstract: Mothers’ increasing labor force participation and growing inequality are two of the most widely discussed social and economic trends in Japan. We address the intersection of these issues by examining socioeconomic differences in relationships between mothers’ employment and children’s academic and noncognitive outcomes. In particular, we take a demographic approach to understanding these relationships by focusing on: (1) differences in the composition of employment with respect to mothers’ educational attainment; and (2) educational attainment differences in relationships between maternal employment and child outcomes. We pay particular attention to different types of employment (non-standard versus regular) and to trajectories of maternal employment. We articulate and evaluate a set of alternative scenarios suggested by Japan’s distinctive family, education, and labor market contexts. Results from marginal structural models show that differences in patterns of employment between highly educated and less-educated Japanese mothers are small, but relationships between cumulative exposure to maternal employment and children’s outcomes differ markedly depending on mother’s educational attainment. The socioeconomic differences in maternal employment are of little relevance for understanding differences in children’s outcomes, but it is clear that exposure to maternal employment is negatively associated with the outcomes of the children of less-educated mothers. These findings provide interesting new insights into families as a nexus of inequality in a context characterized by norms of intensive mothering, increasing maternal employment, and pronounced gender inequality in the labor market.