Regional Differences in Female Labor Force Participation in Japan

  • Akiko SakanishiEmail author


This paper investigates the determinants of Japanese regional differences in female labor force participation rates. There is little regional difference in the labor force participation rates of unmarried women. In contrast, for married females, regional disparities are noticeable. Japanese female labor force participation rates show an age-specific pattern, with a big fall in participation around childbearing ages of the thirties. However, this age-specific pattern is more pronounced in some regions than in others. This study examines the factors that affect labor force participation of married women of working ages 15–64, using regional panel data. From the empirical analysis, we learn that the proportion of nuclear families has a significant negative association with married female participation rates. We find a strong relationship between family status and the labor force participation rates of married women. These findings are of great relevance to the design of policies aimed at improving the balance between work and childcare for married women, especially in the urban areas where the proportion of married women living with parents is relatively low. This is because married women of nuclear families have greater difficulty allocating their time between paid work and household chores. Policies that would significantly increase Japan’s female labor force participation must focus on the married women of childraising ages specifically in urban areas.

Key words

female labor force participation regional difference childcare 

Category & Number

Labor Economics and Policy 

JEL Classification

J01 J21 R23 


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Copyright information

© Japan Economic Policy Association (JEPA) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nara Prefectural UniversityFaculty of Regional PromotionJapan

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