Female labor supply in aging East Asia: past, present and future prospects in four advanced economies

Elke Loichinger, Chulalongkorn University
Yen-Hsin Alice Cheng, Academia Sinica

In this study, we will explore and project female labor supply in four advanced Asian economies. The countries included in our analyses are Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and Singapore. In these countries, fertility rates have been very low for an extended period of time, and societies are aging rapidly. One of the feared immediate consequences of this development is a shortage in labor supply. Increasing female labor force participation is often seen as one option to increase labor supply, given that female labor force participation is significantly lower than male participation and women show patterns of economic activity that are distinctly different from the patterns observed in other advanced economies in Europe and North America. In the first part of this project, we will present and explain these observed differences, based on existing research about female labor force participation, and use our gained insights to project selected scenarios of future female participation, which composes the second part of this project. The results of these projections will allow us to assess the effect of a rise in female participation for labor supply. A distinct value added compared to existing labor force projections is our inclusion of information on women’s educational attainment level. This will demonstrate that not only the size and the age-structure of the potential future female labor force are changing, but their skill level as well.

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 Presented in Session 110. Education and gender