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Employment and Motherhood Entry in South Korea, 1978-2006

Li Ma  By the same author

Resume

This study uses event history analysis to explore the relationship between women’s employment and motherhood entry in the socioeconomic and institutional context of South Korea. Data used for analysis come from waves 1 to 10 of the Korea Labor and Income Panel Study (KLIPS) collected between 1998 and 2007. The study shows that motherhood entry declines during the study period, particularly from the 1990s onward, with marriage postponement and decline arguably contributing to this downtrend. Women who leave the labour market are more likely to become mothers than working women and women with no employment experience. Labour market withdrawal is a signal of family formation and extension. However, this practice has been challenged in recent years, and staying at work up to and during pregnancy has gained prevalence. Among wage earners, women employed in the public sector are more likely than others to become a mother, underlying the importance of employment stability for motherhood entry in Korea. The fertility behaviour of private-sector employees appears to be sensitive to changes in the business cycle.

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