The Economics of Social Security in Japan

The Economics of Social Security in Japan

ESRI Studies Series on Ageing

Edited by Toshiaki Tachibanaki

This book provides a comprehensive appraisal of social security in Japan, where traditionally the burden of welfare provision has been the main responsibility of the family and employers, rather than the state. However, an ageing population, changes in family structure and continued recession has led to an urgent reappraisal of this situation.

Chapter 9: Conjoint analysis and effect of child-care policies on fertility

Yasushi Ohkusa

Subjects: asian studies, asian social policy, economics and finance, welfare economics, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, economics of social policy


9. Conjoint analysis and effect of child-care policies on fertility Yasushi Ohkusa* 1. INTRODUCTION The rapid ageing of the population and reduction in the number of children have changed the status of children from private goods of families to public goods, in the sense that they are contributors to the labor supply, tax revenue and social welfare costs. Such a significant positive externality of children has lowered the private rate of return below the public one, and this situation calls for public intervention. This implies a need for change in child-care policy, from a welfare policy that primarily targets the poor to a positive public policy for the whole economy. However, there has been little research on this issue.1 There are significant differences among regions that may lead to the imposition of drastic political changes. Observational data are limited, and cross-sectional data do not give a time-series perspective and may suffer from selection bias. Conducting a social experiment on fertility would be the best solution. However, such experiments are very expensive in terms of money and time. Moreover, they involve serious ethical problems that are likely to make their realization impossible. Instead of social experiments, questionnaires on hypothetical situations are used in surveys at different times; these incur lower costs but are less accurate. Tsukahara (1995) is the pioneer in this field in Japan; however, his research ignores the effects of variables such as age, income and the actual number of children. In...

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