Research on female labor-force participation has not fully explained why economic development has different effects on married women’s employment continuity across societies. I use life-history data from nationally representative samples of women in Japan and Taiwan to examine the divergence in women’s patterns of labor-force exit in these two countries during the postwar period. The findings reveal that the effects of family demands, occupation, firm size, and employment sector on women’s exit rates differed substantially between Japan and Taiwan. Taken together, these factors account for the different trends in married women’s employment during this period. I argue that the cross-national differences in the predictors of women’s labor-force withdrawal reflect the extent of incompatibility between work and family responsibilities for married women in these two societies.

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