How Many Children Do We Want? Does Housework Participation Matter? Evidence from South Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan

Man Yee Kan, University of Oxford
Ekaterina Hertog, University of Oxford

This paper investigates whether the division of housework between spouses affects married couples’ aspiration for the number of children in four East Asian countries: South Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan. Data are from the East Asian Social Survey 2006. In all the countries, women do much more housework than men. In South Korea and Japan, men seldom do cleaning, cooking and laundry. However, there are similarities in the way housework participation affects individual fertility aspirations. Men are only slightly affected by the extent of housework sharing in all the four countries studied. Women, on the other hand, aspire to have more children if their husbands share more household tasks. Given the social and institutional obstacles to men’s greater housework participation in many East Asian countries, this finding bodes ill for the future fertility trends in the region.

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Presented in Session 235: Consequences of Domestic Gender Equality