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Japan / Growth and Quality of Life

To answer that question, we need to do two things. First, we need a way of measuring the quality of life. Second, we need to distinguish between the effect on quality of life of a country’s level of income and the effect of growth per se. Putting these two things together allows us to formulate the following hypothesis:

If growth of income, independently from the level of income, is a necessary condition for maintaining a high quality of life, then slow-growing Japan should have a lower quality of life than other countries with comparable incomes but more rapid growth.

IMF data rank Japan as twenty-fifth in the world by per capita GDP at purchasing power parity, just behind France and just above the EU average. That puts Japanese GDP per capita at 70 percent of the United States. Although some other rankings put Japan a little higher or lower, all sources put the country safely in the top quartile by GDP per capita, but below the top decile. On the other hand, its recent average growth rate of 0.84 percent per year puts it in the bottom growth quartile. The question is, then, do measures of Japan’s quality of life more closely track its level of GDP, its growth rate, or neither?

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor from

Economonitor

via EconoMonitor : Ed Dolan’s Econ Blog » Growth and Quality of Life: What Can we Learn from Japan?.

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