Current Institutional Affiliation
Research Scientist/Program Officer, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education

Award Information

Abe Fellowship 2001
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Assistant Research Scientist, Survey Research Center, University of Michigan / Institute for Social Research
Women’s Economic Contribution, Marriage, and Family Policy: A Comparative Study of Japan and the U.S.

I propose to investigate the influence of women's economic contribution on the family in two industrialized countries, Japan and the U.S. The objective of this project is to empirically evaluate the idea that, in industrialized societies, women's increasing economic contribution is undermining the institution of family, in particular the institution of marriage. I ask: are marriages "on their way out" in industrialized countries because women are gaining economic independence from their husbands? The potentially marriage-disruptive effect of women's economic independence raises policy concerns in industrialized countries where women's labor force participation has been increasing-for example, low marriage rates reduce fertility rates and create social security payment problems. The project will focus on the impact of women's economic status on marriage and separation (i.e., marital transitions), and marital quality in Japan and the U.S. More specifically, I will investigate if women's economic contribution undermines the institution of marriage by asking three questions: a) does women's economic contribution reduce the chance that women marry, and increase the chance that couples experience marital dissolution, in Japan and the U.S.?; b) does women's economic contribution diminish marital quality in the two countries; and c) can family policies alter the effect of women's economic contribution on marital transitions and quality in the two countries? The conclusions drawn from this study will have implications for policies related to fertility, women's employment, and social security in Japan and the U.S.