Another Work-Family Interface: How Work Characteristics Shape Marriage and Fertility Intentions in Japan

Wei-hsin Yu, University of Texas at Austin

Prior research sheds little light on how the specific context of work affects young adults’ desires for marriage and family. We address this question using a representative sample of never-married men and women from Japan, a country well-known for rapid declines in marriage and fertility and high incompatibility between women’s work and family roles. We examine how job and workplace characteristics conducive to higher levels of work-family conflict, signifying a better economic future, and enabling greater social integration affect individuals’ marriage and fertility intentions. We find workplace sociability to be the most relevant. Especially for women, working in more collaborative and interactive environments is associated with their trying harder to meet potential marriage partners, their expressing desire for becoming parents, and their wanting more children. We argue that in more sociable workplaces, individuals are more likely to be influenced by the previous cohorts and general life-course norms, thus more interested in marriage and parenthood.

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Presented in Session 143: Employment, Unions, and Fertility: New Findings