Title: Lowest-low fertility in South Korea: Preference toward family and work and education costs
with Ahyoung Song (Gachon University, Korea) and Yusun Cho (University of Southern California, U.S.).
Abstract: This paper investigates which determinant can affect the fertility in South Korea: the quantum (the number of children) and the tempo (the timing of birth).Although the phenomenon of low fertility in Europe has been actively analyzed, the emergence of lowest-low fertility in East Asia, such as Japan, Korea, or Taiwan, has been relatively less paid attention. Since the male breadwinner model still dominates in East Asian countries, different perspective may be required to examine causes of the recent fertility decline from the case of European countries. Hakim (2003)’s Preference Theory categorizes three types in terms of female’s preference toward work and home, and suggests that each type of women has different behavior in terms of labor force participation or fertility decision. Home-oriented female may have higher fertility and take shorter time to give a birth but career-oriented female may have lower fertility rate. This paper indicates that heterogeneity in female’s attitude toward career and family make no significant difference in the decision-making of fertility in Korea. Considering the education fever in South Korea, we emphasize the expected cost of raising a child as a hinderer of fertility decision in Korea, especially delaying of having a second child.