Discussed is how occupational structure determines women's quitting behavior on marriage and childbirth, which is the main factor of discontinuity of women's work-force participation in Japan. With the exception of those who employed in family enterprises, we restrict our attention to the modern sexual division of labor, which is the division between occupational work and domestic labor. Personal histories are drawn from a 1985 nationwide survey. The samples are divided into two cohorts: born before 1945 and after. Three hypotheses compete in explaining changes between the two cohorts.
The first hypothesis argues that higher occupational status reduces quitting rate (QR) because of its economic advantage and better occupational condition. The data show contrary to the hypothesis: Higher occupations exhibit higher QR.
The second hypothesis argues that, in workplace under the Japanese management, sex segregation between stable and mobile employment increases QR through encouraging gender ideology. We reject this hypothesis because changes in inter-firm mobility of men and women are inconsistent with changes in QR.
The third hypothesis argues that opportunities of advancement (OA) discourage women from quitting. To measure OA, we feature two factors: (1) size of internal labor markets and (2) frequency of inter-firm upward mobility. We observe just this hypothesis expect: Decrease in both of the factors is necessary and sufficient to increase QR.
The results show OA to be the main and direct cause of promoting continuity of women's work-force participation. It is also suggested that Japanese women have made no gain in OA in the postwar period, which stiff situation may be the reason why QR has been keeping the level of 60%.
Last updated 2002-04-22.