Societies are more or less stratified but often in different dimensions. For example, income is more skewed in the United States than in Japan, but universities are more stratified in Japan than in the United States. The skewness of income in Japan, by itself, does not necessarily mean that Japanese society is more equal than American society.
In this study, we will investigate which factors Japanese individuals count consider when identifying their "elite" people among them by an experimental survey. We will extract these factors in two stages. First, we will ask respondents to assume that Japanese society is stratified into 10 tiers and to write any word(s) to describe people classified as the most elite to the least elite or at tiers 1 (highest), 3, 5, 7, 9, or 10. Tier 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, or 10 is randomly drawn and shown to each respondent. Next, we will ask respondents to evaluate a) education, b) income, c) total household income, d) occupation, e) wealth, f) family origin, g) gender, and h) social reputation as measures with which to classify people between 1 (the most important) and 5 (the least important).
We will also collect information about respondents' background characteristics such as age, gender, prefecture, and education; working status, if employed, size of the employer and job title; income; total household income; whether he or she reads a newspaper, internet news, or books; political preferences, partisanship; and self-perception of social class.
By the design, we will attempt to identify factors shared by Japanese people in recognizing social class.