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Legitimation of Income Inequality in Japan: A Comparison with South Korea and the United States

Abstract : Why does Japan have a large earnings gap between regular and non-regular employment? We attempt to answer this question through the lens of the legitimation of inequality, assuming the possibility that the inequality remains unresolved because it is legitimized due to institutional settings in Japanese society. In this paper, we explore to what extent the inequality is legitimized, as well as how it is legitimized, in Japanese society by analyzing data collected from a comparative vignette survey on the just income of fictitious workers in comparison with South Korea and the United States. The results of multilevel model analysis show that the income gap between regular and non-regular employees is accepted as just in Japan and South Korea. Moreover, non-regular worker respondents think that the income gap should be wider than regular worker respondents do (against their own interests) only in Japan. To some extent, the acceptance of income inequality and its over-acceptance by non-regular workers can be explained by the assumed difference in the duties and opportunities in the workplace between regular and non-regular employees, which is brought about by the male breadwinner model and Japanese firms’ practices to secure the livelihood of employees and their families. Based on the results, we argue that the income inequality between regular and non-regular employment in Japan has a stronger logic of legitimation and, therefore, is more likely to persist than in other countries.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, June 19, 2019 - 5:18:55 PM
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  • HAL Id : hal-02160502, version 1




Shin Arita, Kikuko Nagayoshi, Hirofumi Taki, Hiroshi Kanbayashi, Hirohisa Takenoshita, et al.. Legitimation of Income Inequality in Japan: A Comparison with South Korea and the United States. 2019. ⟨hal-02160502⟩



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