Mass Attitudes and Discrimination Against Hypothetical Job Candidates in Japan: A Resumé-Based Survey Experiment

41 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2020

See all articles by Jonathon Baron

Jonathon Baron

Yale University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: June 19, 2020


A substantial literature addresses the various forms of discrimination in the Japanese labor market, but little experimental work investigates these prejudices. Here, I present experimental evidence from a national survey of Japanese adults in order to assess both professional and social discrimination against hypothetical job applicants. Leveraging the prevalence of standardized rirekisho resumé forms, I present respondents with a hypothetical applicant’s rirekisho, with key attributes such as gender, nationality, and schooling location randomized. Because adolescents living in regions affected by the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster are now entering the labor market as recent college graduates, the experiment also afforded the opportunity to assess labor-market discrimination against individuals perceived to have been exposed to radioactive fallout (proxied by primary-school location). Three key findings emerged from the experimental trial: 1.) female applicants were universally preferred over male applicants, suggesting positive public attitudes toward increased labor-market engagement by female college graduates; 2.) there is no evidence of discrimination against individuals who were living in Fukushima at the time of the 2011 accident in this context; and, 3.) there is significant discrimination against non-Japanese applicants in both professional and social contexts, and the effect of Korean nationality is consistently negative and significant. Together, these results suggest some cause for optimism regarding the treatment of some potentially marginalized groups, while nonetheless provoking substantial concern for others.

Keywords: Japan, resumé, survey experiment, discrimination, labor market

Suggested Citation

Baron, Jonathon, Mass Attitudes and Discrimination Against Hypothetical Job Candidates in Japan: A Resumé-Based Survey Experiment (June 19, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Jonathon Baron (Contact Author)

Yale University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Box 208269
New Haven, DC 06520-8269
United States

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