Four Types of Attitudes Towards Foreign Workers: Evidence from a Survey in Japan

Center on Japanese Economy and Business Working Paper Series, WP 351

30 Pages Posted: 23 Jul 2016

See all articles by Frances McCall Rosenbluth

Frances McCall Rosenbluth

Yale University - Department of Political Science

Rieko Kage

University of Tokyo

Seiki Tanaka

University of Leeds

Date Written: June 30, 2016

Abstract

Employing a survey method to explore attitudes towards foreign workers in Japan, we uncover evidence that upends the conventional wisdom that “socio-tropic values” are anchored in perceptions of threat. Building a new typology that differentiates among native-born citizens who value or fear foreigners for their expected effects on the economic and cultural dimensions, we find that Japanese corporate managers, especially in labor-scarce sectors, appreciate the positive effects of foreign labor more than they dread the dilution of cultural beliefs and practices that underpinned the fabled Japanese labor force. This finding is significant because, even without becoming whole-hearted multi-culturalists, a positive disposition of Japanese corporate management towards foreign workers could signal a shift in policy. Although ethnocentrists remain in Japan (as elsewhere), the views of the business community are likely to have more bearing on government policy than those of other groups.

JEL Classification: C83, J15, J61, J71, N35

Suggested Citation

Rosenbluth, Frances McCall and Kage, Rieko and Tanaka, Seiki, Four Types of Attitudes Towards Foreign Workers: Evidence from a Survey in Japan (June 30, 2016). Center on Japanese Economy and Business Working Paper Series, WP 351. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2813340 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2813340

Frances McCall Rosenbluth

Yale University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Box 208269
New Haven, DC 06520-8269
United States
203-432-5256 (Phone)

Rieko Kage

University of Tokyo ( email )

Seiki Tanaka (Contact Author)

University of Leeds ( email )

School of Politics and International Studies
Leeds, LS2 9JT
United Kingdom

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