The Effects of Childcare and Eldercare on the Changing Patterns of Chinese Women’s Work Lives, 1982 to 2000

Margaret Maurer-Fazio, Bates College
Rachel Connelly, Bowdoin College
Lixin Tang, Bates College
Chen Lan, Chinese Ministry of Labor and Social Security

This paper focuses on the work lives of prime-aged women in China. To learn more about the effect of China’s substantial economic reform on the life course of Chinese women’s work, we compare women’s labor force status in the three most recent population Censuses: 1982, 1990, and 2000. Beyond the standard individual demographic characteristics of age, education, marital status and ethnicity, we include variables indicating the presence in the household of preschool and school-age children and/or the elderly and disabled. We find that the marginal effects of these variables are increasing over time, implying that family considerations matter more in the freer urban labor market of the post reform era than they did in the pre- or early-reform era. We also consider how the unemployment rate in their area of residence, provincial average per capita income levels and provincial GDP growth rate affect labor force participation rates.

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Presented in Session 191: Cross-Cultural Analyses of Gender and Work