Balancing work and family life in Japan and four European countries: econometric analysis on mothers' employment and timing of maternity
One of the most prominent challenges that present-day women and families face is the reconciliation of work and family life. Next to their ‘traditional’ role as homemakers, women are increasingly engaging in paid work. As such, they have also obtained the role of wage earners even when their children are (very) young. This double role creates the need for carefully managing the two objectives. In other words, balancing motherhood and career has become an issue of the utmost importance for women in the modern society. Examination of this issue not just addresses the individual sphere but also the society as a whole. Indeed, fertility in most industrialised nations has fallen below the replacement rate, i.e. below the level that prevents the total population from decreasing. This book examines ways of balancing work and family life in Japan in comparison to four European countries, namely Britain, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. More in particular, special attention is devoted to the economic determinants of mothers’ employment and the timing of maternity. Household panel data from these five countries are utilised to econometrically study the effects of family policies and flexible work arrangements.