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Female Employment and Fertility Change in South Korea
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. (Demography)
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

A large amount of literature has addressed the relationship between women’s employment and fertility in the Western context. We have less relevant knowledge about the context of East Asia. This thesis addresses this situation by providing insight into how women’s employment is interrelated with their fertility in South Korea. I investigate women’s life-course transitions to motherhood, labor force return after childbearing, and second childbearing, respectively. Data used for my analyses come from the Korea Labor and Income Panel Study (KLIPS).

My studies show that the traditional practice of leaving the labor market at an early stage of family life has gradually been replaced by a pattern of staying at work until and during pregnancy. Among wage earners, women with stable employment positions are more likely than others to become a mother. Further, women with a good labor market standing are more likely to return to the labor force immediately after childbirth without any career interruption. Still, a considerable number of women shift to homemaking after childbirth. The outbreak of the Asian financial crisis in 1997 pushed mothers to hold tighter to the labor market than before. Labor force participation after first birth depresses women’s likelihood of having a second child.

These studies suggest that a good labor market standing facilitates both motherhood entry and job continuity after childbirth in South Korea. However, the considerable number of women that shift to homemaking during motherhood and the depressed second birth rates of mothers in the labor force reveal that Korean women still face hardships when trying to combine work and family responsibilities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis, 2014. , 39 p.
Series
Dissertation series / Stockholm University Demography Unit, ISSN 1404-2304 ; 11
Keyword [en]
Female employment, fertility change, South Korea
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociological Demography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-103718ISBN: 978-91-87235-88-7 (print)ISBN: 978-91-87235-87-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-103718DiVA: diva2:719388
Public defence
2014-08-29, Lecture hall 3, B House, Universitetsvägen 10 B, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Manuscript. Paper 3: Manuscript.

Available from: 2014-06-04 Created: 2014-05-23 Last updated: 2016-05-27Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. EMPLOYMENT AND MOTHERHOOD ENTRY IN SOUTH KOREA, 1978-2006
Open this publication in new window or tab >>EMPLOYMENT AND MOTHERHOOD ENTRY IN SOUTH KOREA, 1978-2006
2013 (English)In: Population, ISSN 0032-4663, E-ISSN 1957-7966, Vol. 68, no 3, 481-510 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study uses event history analysis to explore the relationship between women's employment and motherhood entry in the socioeconomic and institutional context of South Korea. Data used for analysis come from waves 1 to 10 of the Korea Labor and Income Panel Study (KLIPS) collected between 1998 and 2007. The study shows that motherhood entry declines during the study period, particularly from the 1990s onward, with marriage postponement and decline arguably contributing to this downtrend. Women who leave the labour market are more likely to become mothers than working women and women with no employment experience. Labour market withdrawal is a signal of family formation and extension. However, this practice has been challenged in recent years, and staying at work up to and during pregnancy has gained prevalence. Among wage earners, women employed in the public sector are more likely than others to become a mother, underlying the importance of employment stability for motherhood entry in Korea. The fertility behaviour of private-sector employees appears to be sensitive to changes in the business cycle.

Keyword
motherhood entry, employment status, job characteristics, social policy, South Korea
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-101028 (URN)10.3917/popu.1303.0481 (DOI)000330154700003 ()
Note

AuthorCount:1;

Available from: 2014-02-27 Created: 2014-02-21 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
2. Economic crisis and women's labor force return after childbirth: Evidence from South Korea
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Economic crisis and women's labor force return after childbirth: Evidence from South Korea
2014 (English)In: Demographic Research, ISSN 1435-9871, Vol. 31, 511-551 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

BACKGROUND Most research on women's labor force return after childbirth concentrates on industrialized countries in the West; the link between economic swings and mothers' work-return behavior is rarely addressed. This study closes these gaps by focusing on South Korea, a developed society in East Asia that has in recent decades witnessed increases in female labor force participation and dramatic economic ups and downs. This is the first relevant study on South Korea. OBJECTIVE This study examines how women's labor force return after childbirth (with and without career interruption) and their career prospects upon work return varied before, during, and after the Asian financial crisis in South Korea. METHODS Logistic and hazard regression models were applied to the Korea Labor and Income Panel Study (KLIPS waves 1-10). RESULTS The study reveals an increase in women's immediate work return after childbirth without career interruption since the 1980s. The Asian financial crisis boosted this immediate return pattern. The implementation of job-protected maternity leave further contributed to this pattern. Women who underwent career interruption at first birth were also more likely to re-enter the labor market during and after the crisis than before. Downward occupational moves were especially common during the period of financial crisis. CONCLUSIONS The results suggest that the Asian financial crisis triggered a noticeable change in women's post-birth work-return behavior. The economic volatility pushed mothers to hold onto their role in the labor force more strongly than before.

National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociological Demography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-107989 (URN)000341519300001 ()
Note

AuthorCount:1;

Available from: 2014-10-06 Created: 2014-10-06 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
3. Labor Force Participation, Family Policy Change, and Second Birth Rates in South Korea
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Labor Force Participation, Family Policy Change, and Second Birth Rates in South Korea
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In recent decades, while female labor force participation rates in South Korea have increased, the country's fertility rates have dramatically declined. It has been argued that the country’s family planning program, which was first implemented in 1962, initiated the fertility plunge. This study explores the association between women’s labor force participation and second birth rates in South Korea. It also examines how the South Korean family planning program (among other factors) contributed to this relationship. By applying an event history analysis to longitudinal data from the Korea Labor and Income Panel Study (KLIPS), the study shows that second birth rates declined continuously through the 1980s. The trend began to reverse in the late 1980s, although the reversal was only temporary, and second birth rates had shifted downward again by the turn of the new century. Women with employment experience after first birth had significantly lower second birth rates than homemakers, which suggests that labor force participation after first birth signals an interruption in a woman’s reproductive career. The adjustment of the family planning program in 1989 seems to have temporarily stimulated the second birth rates of homemakers in particular.

Keyword
Female labor force participation, family planning program, second births, South Korea
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Demography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-103156 (URN)
Available from: 2014-05-07 Created: 2014-05-07 Last updated: 2014-05-26Bibliographically approved

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