Public Lecture Slides (5.30.19) Beyond the Gender Gap in Japan - "Busy, Happy, and Withdrawn"
“Busy, Happy, and
sleep and leisure deprived (Nakamura and Akiyoshi 2015)
Average sleep per day by gender and
age (minutes), married individuals
Source: Survey on Time Use and Leisure
(The Ministry of Internal Affiairs and
Stretched thin, but
“Smile goes a long way!”
Life of a working mother
who gets by with 4 hours
of sleep is glamorized as
Typical moms’ timetables show the extent of sleep
How much “return” they get from time
investment in various leisure activities?
RQ1. What kind of leisure activities do
Japanese women engage in?
RQ2. What kind of activities contribute to
RQ 3. How much happiness do women gain
from various leisure activities?
Data and Methods
The 2007 International Social Survey
Argentina, Australia, Austria, Flanders (Belgium), Bulgaria, Chile, Cyprus, Czech Republic,
Dominican Republic, Taiwan, Croatia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary (dropped),
Ireland, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Mexico, Norway, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Slovak
Republic, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan (dropped), the
United Kingdom, the United States, Uruguay.
Implicit valuation function to assess the
happiness gain on time investment
Implicit valuation function of the
quality of leisure activities
HAPPYi -=DEM′iβDEM+SEC′iβSEC+LEISURE′iβLEISURE +εi
Four point value multiplied by 10
• DEM (demographic variables)
age, gender, marital status, health, household composition (children)
• SEC (socioeconomic variables)
education, employment status, community type, income decile
Types of leisure activities
•Attending sporting events
•Attending cultural events
•Getting together with relatives/ friends
The Japanese socialize more with
relatives than with friends
-1 -0.5 0 0.5 1 1.5 2
Limited participation in
-1.4 -1.2 -1 -0.8 -0.6 -0.4 -0.2 0
Politics Community Church Culture Sports
Activities/Groups that increase
• Watching TV
• Listening to music
• Time with relatives
• Time with friends
• Sports association
• Church or religious
Quality of leisure activities
• Japanese women experience time paucity.
• As a result, they are not active in media
consumption and group participation.
• Whatever leisure time they have, they
“invest” wisely, engaging in high-return
• Differences in availability of leisure time
between sexes DO NOT translate into
differences in qualities of leisure activities.
Policy implications I
•Women’s “utility maximizing” behavior
leads to their withdrawal from political
groups/associations and community
•The focus on the private/family is partly
a function of optimizing behavior.
Policy implications II
• To promote women’s involvement in
politics and economy
(1) Make pertinent activities worthwhile and
(e.g. eliminate statistical discrimination)
(2) Redress the leisure imbalance to allow
women “waste” their time on activities whose
payoff are not always immediate and clear.
(e.g. politics, community building)