Nonstandard Work and the Shift Away from Male Breadwinner Families in Japan

So-Jung Lim, Utah State University
James Raymo, University of Wisconsin-Madison

This study evaluates the role of women’s nonstandard work in the transition from male-breadwinner to dual-earner families. Using nationally-representative panel data on Japanese women containing rich information on employment and women’s work orientation, we test two alternative hypotheses that characterize women’s nonstandard work as an extension of the specialization model or as a type of dual-earner family resulting from economic need and/or structural constraints imposed. Results from discrete-time competing risk hazard models are generally consistent with a scenario in which marriage moves away from specialization toward a scenario in which high-earning men are increasingly sharing economic roles in household with their wives. However, the economic foundations of marriage are not shifting in a uniform manner: some women are in dual-earner couples while others are working nonstandard, supplementary jobs. These results suggest that women’s nonstandard work is important for understanding the nature of marriage in the changing labor market context.

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Presented in Session 209: Work and Families