GENDA Yūji is Professor of Labour Economics at the Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo. He has authored several books on jobless youth, including Hataraku Kajō (NTT Shuppan, 2005), NEET (Gentōsha, 2004) with Maganuma Mie and Shigoto no Naka no Aimai-na Fuan (Chūō Kōron Shinsha, 2001). The latter has been translated into English as A Nagging Sense of Job Insecurity: The New Reality Facing Japanese Youth (International House of Japan, 2005). He can be contacted at the Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan, or by e-mail at email@example.com
This paper empirically examines the determinants of non-employed young Japanese people, whose number increased from the 1990s to the beginning of the 2000s. Non-working unmarried persons aged 15–34, who do not attend school, are classified into three types: ‘job seekers’ (type 1), who search for jobs; ‘non-job seekers’ (type 2), who express a desire to work but do not search for jobs, and ‘non-job seekers’ (type 3), who express no desire to work. Those in type 2 and type 3, non-job seekers, are defined to be ‘NEET’ or ‘not in employment, education or training’. Multinomial logistic regression results show that young persons whose expected returns from working are low—such as females, older people, the less educated and the long-term jobless—tend to refrain from working and become non-job seekers. Moreover, there is evidence of an income effect that makes youths from wealthy families more likely to be type 3 non-job seekers. However, the number of jobless youths from lower-income households has been increasing and hence, the income effect on type 3 jobless has become less relevant recently. As a result, young, less-educated males from poor families in Japan have become more likely to lose interest in work rather than those in middle-income families.