Women's higher education in Japan: Family background, economic factors, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Law

Edwards, Linda N.; Pasquale, Margaret

Since the mid-1980s there has been a striking increase in the propensity of young Japanese women to attend four-year universities. During this same period, the Japanese Diet, in 1985, passed the Equal Employment Opportunity Law, which focused on improving women's access to career employment. This paper uses micro data from the Japanese Panel Survey on Consumers (JPSC) to investigate the importance of socioeconomic and demographic factors, as well as the EEO Law, in determining the higher education decisions of young women in Japan. We find that one of the most important factors for determining whether or not a young woman attends university is whether or not her mother attended university. Other important factors we identify include whether or not her father attended university, whether or not the young woman attended juku in high school, family income, and attendance at private secondary school. Data limitations prevent drawing strong conclusions about the role of the passage of the EEO Law, but our results suggest that the passage of the law was associated with an increase in the propensity of young women to choose university over junior college.

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Academic Units
Center on Japanese Economy and Business
Center on Japanese Economy and Business, Graduate School of Business, Columbia University
Center on Japanese Economy and Business Working Papers, 195
Published Here
February 10, 2011