Gender Wage Gap in Japan: Comparison Between Regular and Irregular Employment and within Irregular Employment

Saturday, July 19, 2014: 12:46 PM
Room: 315
Oral Presentation
Akiko ODA , Kyoto University, Japan
In the last 40 years, the gender gap in the labor force participation rate has significantly decreased in many Western capitalist countries; however, the gender wage gap remains relatively large. In Japan, female labor force participation rate and years of continuous employment, which are major factors in the lower wages of females, are still fairly lower than those of males. The gender wage gap in Japan is the second largest among OECD countries.

Sociologists and economists have investigated the relevant factors, including the gender gap in human capital and sexism of the labor market. Previous works emphasized employment status. In Japan, regular employment is full-time and permanent, whereas irregular employment is on a fixed-term basis. Women are largely irregular employees, and this has become a major source of gender inequality in wages. Further, the gender wage gap is not only seen in the bias in regular and irregular employment, but also within irregular employment types.

This study examined how the gender wage gap in Japan is affected by employment status using data from the Employment Status Survey conducted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications in 2002. I analyzed micro data using a multiple regression model: the explained variable is personal income; explanatory variables are sex, age, other human capitals, employment status, and family situation, including marital status and number of children. I likewise established the interaction between sex and other variables.

Results showed that differences in the gender wage gap mechanisms between regular and irregular employment are not significant. In the wage gap between regular and irregular employment, the female gap is smaller than that of males. In factoring in the families of employees, having children makes males’ wages go up and females’ wages fall.