Social Indicators Research

, Volume 81, Issue 1, pp 79–102 | Cite as

Rethinking of Economic Growth and Life Satisfaction in Post-Wwii Japan – A Fresh Approach

  • Takayoshi KusagoEmail author


Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has been utilized by academics and policy makers to indicate the economic well-being of the people. However, economic growth measures cannot capture fully the overall well-being of the people. This paper has tested quality of economic growth in Japan after World War II as to whether it has brought about positive outcome in the well-being of its citizens. Comparison between GDP and GPI (Genuine Progress Index) has revealed that GDP does not fit as well with people’s life satisfaction trend as GPI. Prefecture-based rankings on GDP, Human Development Index (HDI) and Life Satisfaction have shown that there are clear gaps between objective measures and subjective measures to indicate the overall well-being of the people. Also, analysis on major determinants for people’s life satisfaction reveals that older people, women, non-employed people, and those who live in subsidized housings felt satisfied with their life.

Key words

economic growth genuine progress Index gross domestic product Japan life satisfaction prefecture-based human development index subjective well-being 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Cobb C., Halstead T. and Rowe J. (1995). The Genuine Progress Indicator: Summary of Data and Methodology. Redefining Progress, San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
  2. Diener E. (1994). Assessing subjective well-being: Progress and opportunities. Social Indicators Research 31: 103–157CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. (2000). Culture and Subjective Well-Being. MIT-Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  4. Frey B. and Stutzer A. (2002). Happiness and Economics: How the Economy and Institutions Affect Well-being. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  5. Meadows D.H. (1972). The Limits to Growth: A Report for the Club of Rome’s Project on the Predicament of Mankind. Universe Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  6. (2005). White Paper on the Labour Economy 2005. MHLW, TokyoGoogle Scholar
  7. Nakamura T. (1985). Economic Development of Modern Japan. International Society for Educational Information, TokyoGoogle Scholar
  8. Ohashi T., Nakano K., Makino M. and Wada Y. (2003). A Study on Japan’s GPI (Nihon no GPI no keisoku kekka). Future 500, TokyoGoogle Scholar
  9. Sen A.K. (1985). Commodities and Capabilities. North-Holland, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  10. Sen A.K. (1999). Development as Freedom. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  11. UNDP: 1990, Human Development Report 1990 (Oxford University Press, Oxford)Google Scholar
  12. UNDP: 2005, Human Development Report 2005 (Oxford University Press, Oxford)Google Scholar
  13. Veenhoven R. (1996). Developments in satisfaction-research. Social Indicators Research 37: 1–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Human SciencesOsaka UniversityOsakaJapan

Personalised recommendations