Work-Life Balancing Effect of the Welfare States: Comparing Experiences in East Asian Cities

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 08:30
Oral Presentation
Yasuhiro KAMIMURA, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan
How mothers' and fathers' experiences of balancing work and child-rearing are influenced by the macro conditions such as labor market, welfare state, and culture? Focusing on the cases of Taiwan and Japan, with comparison to other advanced countries, this paper shows the welfare states decisively influence the quality of work-life balance and its demographic outcome. It is interesting to include the case of Taiwan where the rapid increase in female labor force participation has occurred without sufficient provision of formal childcare services. Various data from OECD family database, national statistics, as well as the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP2012) are examined together with interview data obtained in our field study in Taiwan (Taipei and Taichung) and Japan (Nagoya). International comparison is effectively combined with the city level observations. The main analytical findings are: 1) While female labor force participation correlates with fertility outcome in most advanced welfare states, there are some significant outliers like Taiwan, Greece, Spain, and Portugal, where high participation is accompanied by low fertility. 2) Long working hours seem harmful for balancing work and child-rearing. In most advanced countries, less than 20% of mothers with babies work 40 hours a week, the rates exceed 50% in Taiwan and Portugal where the fertility rates are especially low. 3) Availability of formal childcare services matters. Enrolment rates of formal childcare roughly correlate with fertility of each country. Informal childcare such as that provided by grandparents, which is prevalent in Taiwan, cannot substitute the formal services in a societal level. These findings suggest that individualization without the support of welfare state is not sustainable. This problem seems to be shared by some late-developing welfare states.