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  • 1.
    Ma, Li
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
    Economic crisis and women's labor force return after childbirth: Evidence from South Korea2014In: Demographic Research, ISSN 1435-9871, Vol. 31, p. 511-552, article id 18Article in journal (Refereed)
    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.

  • 2.
    Ma, Li
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
    EMPLOYMENT AND MOTHERHOOD ENTRY IN SOUTH KOREA, 1978-20062013In: Population, ISSN 0032-4663, E-ISSN 1957-7966, Vol. 68, no 3, p. 481-510Article in journal (Refereed)
    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.

  • 3.
    Ma, Li
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
    Female Employment and Fertility Change in South Korea2014Doctoral 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.

  • 4.
    Ma, Li
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
    Female labor force participation and second birth rates in South Korea2016In: Journal of Population Research, ISSN 1443-2447, Vol. 33, no 2, p. 173-195Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In recent decades, while female labour force participation rates in South Korea have increased, the country’s total fertility rates have declined dramatically. This study explores the association between women’s labour force participation and second birth rates in South Korea over the period 1980–2006. An event-history analysis is applied to longitudinal data from waves 1–10 of the Korea Labour and Income Panel Study. The study shows that post-birth labour force participation significantly reduced women’s propensity for having a second child, whereas non-employment after first birth was associated with an increased propensity. Women with highly educated husbands had a higher likelihood of enlarging the family. Further, the second birth trend in Korea fluctuated in tandem with the country’s institutional and socio-economic development. The childbearing propensity of homemakers was especially sensitive to the business cycle.

  • 5.
    Ma, Li
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
    How Women in South Korea Juggle Work and Family Life?2016Other (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
  • 6.
    Ma, Li
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
    Livia Sz. Oláh and Ewa Fratczak (eds.) (2013), Childbearing, Women's Employment and Work-Life Balance Policies in Contemporary Europe, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan2016In: Journal of Social Policy, ISSN 0047-2794, E-ISSN 1469-7823, Vol. 45, no 2, p. 382-384Article, book review (Other academic)
  • 7.
    Ma, Li
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. Karlstad University, Sweden.
    Andersson, Gunnar
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
    Duvander, Ann-Zofie
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
    Evertsson, Marie
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, The Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI).
    Fathers’ Uptake of Parental Leave: Forerunners and Laggards in Sweden, 1993-20102019In: Journal of Social Policy, ISSN 0047-2794, E-ISSN 1469-7823Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Sweden is often considered a forerunner in family change and developments towards less gendered family production patterns. In this study, we focus on recent developments towards more gender-equal sharing of parental leave in Sweden. We explore how fathers’ use of parental leave has changed over time before and since the turn of the century. As the parental leave benefit is individual and earnings-based, we examine how fathers’ individual socio-economic and demographic characteristics are associated with their parental leave uptake over time, to determine whether there are forerunners and laggards in recent family change. Multinomial logistic regression models were applied to data from national registers. Our study demonstrates a bifurcation in trends in recent decades. This is associated with the extension of reforms that reserve part of the leave for fathers, the so-called “daddy months”, but stretches beyond the impact of any such reforms. Taking a long leave of over two months was pioneered by better-educated residents of metropolitan areas and surrounding suburbs, as well as Swedish-born fathers. Young fathers, low-income earners and foreign-born fathers lagged behind in these developments. We regard the unstable labour market situation of the latter as a contributing factor in widening social inequalities in family-related behaviour.

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