Women’s Post-Marital Employment in China’s Economic Transition: Motherhood, Labor Force Participation and Informal Employment

Bin Lian, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

This paper discusses motherhood effect on Chinese women’s participation in the labor market and employment in informal sectors from 1991 to 2011. It focuses on how institutional changes on the macro-level affect individual level family to work relationship. It uses data from eight waves of China Health and Nutrition Survey with generalized version of Hierarchical Age-Period-Cohort models. The results suggest that motherhood has a negative effect on Chinese women’s labor force participation conditional on children’s age. Women with pre-school aged children are the group affected most severely. In addition, there is an increasing significant negative period effect. Women faced a more intense working environment in later period of market reform when the country became more market-oriented and conducted fewer family friendly policies. For women who stayed in the labor force, they were squeezed into informal sectors which would only result in more intense family to work conflict.

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Presented in Poster Session 8: Economy, Labor Force, Education, and Inequality/Gender, Race and Ethnicity