Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Rise of Women in Japan's Labor Force's too late for less male-centered policies...
ImageA concurrent set of posts on the NBR Japan Forum is on the role of women in the labor force. At younger ages, the shift towards greater participation is dramatic, a 30 percentage point jump among 25-29 year olds. Participation for women age 30-34 is following in parallel, with about a 13 year lag:
ImageHowever, this is less economically meaningful than at first glance. Women are not going to be able to save Japan from its demographic challenges. Of course it is these very same women who are not having lots of children. But more to the point, these young women are now the only daughters of an already smaller generation of women.
So even a continued increase in women pursuing careers — already apparent among younger women — will only have a modest impact on the shrinking of the labor force. There are simply too few in these age brackets, and the number is falling yearly. Hence despite the rise in participation, the total number continues to decline:
Policy changes could smooth things, and from a microeconomic perspective (and a lifestyle perspective) could bring many benefits, particularly to women. [For an amusing portrayal of the challenge of a stay-at-home father, albeit in a US context, see Kim Stanley Robinson's Forty Signs of Rain. But from a macroeconomic perspective it's too late for less male-centered policies around the workplace and the home to make a difference.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Nikkei Bubble on Slate

...real vs nominal...
Matt Yglesias has a Slate post on the 1987-91 Nikkei bubble. His core graph, drawn from the St. Louis FRED database, is on the left; I've shorted the time period to go from 1965 through 2001 to match the SNA1968 nominal GDP time series. The same series, divided by nominal GDP, is below. The same series, divided by nominal GDP, is below. There’s still quite a bubble, but relative to GDP stock prices had been even higher in the early 1960s — and except around the time of the oil crisis tracked nominal GDP from 1967 until 1985.
...mike smitka...
[Data: for nominal GDP I used the seasonally corrected series available at the Economic and Social Research Institute. I set the nominally adjusted series equal to the Nikkei series for 2013.Q1. I used the SNA93 series from 1994.Q1 and the SNA68 series for all earlier dates, again adjusting so that the old SNA series would generate the same point in the first observation where they overlap.]

Monday, August 5, 2013

Labor Force Update


Participation is higher across the board, though the "M" for women persists. The exception is the 20-24 age bracket, where lower participation reflects women attending 4-year colleges (75% of young women attend some sort of post-high-school education, including junior colleges and technical schools). Image

The data show the rise of post-secondary schooling for men, but also a drop in participation of 25-29 year olds since the banking crisis, by 2+ percentage points. Older brackets dropped about 1.5 pct pts. Image Data for women in older age brackets. Except for the age 70+ bracket, all have risen, but only over the last 6-7 years for women around retirement age. Image Over the last 50 years we see the advent of retirement as the norm for men age 65-69, but with some reversal the last 6-7 years, similar to the shift in participation by older women. Image

This is my favorite graph, highlighting the monotonic rise in labor force participation by younger women, first by women in the 25-29 age bracket, then (starting about 15 years ago) in parallel by women in the 30-34 age bracket. Now that seems to have spread to women in the 35-39 bracket -- another year or two's data will help clarify...