Welfare Reform and Life Satisfaction in Japan
- Thursday, 12 May 2022 | 9:00 - 10:00 (JST)
- Zoom Webinar
- Hiroshi Ono Professor of Human Resource Management at Hitotsubashi University Business School and Affiliated Professor of Sociology at Texas A&M University
- Sawako Shirahase TCJS Director
Whether economic growth improves the human lot is a matter of conditions. We focus on Japan, a country which shifted in the 1990s from a pattern of rampant economic growth and stagnant well-being, to one of modest growth and increasing well-being. We discuss concurrent policy reforms and analyse the changes in well-being. In particular, we assess whether the correlates of the increase in well-being are consistent with those expected from the reforms. We apply Blinder–Oaxaca decomposition to World Values Survey data in 1990 and 2010. Results show that improved conditions for the elderly, parents of young children and women, that is the primary groups targeted by the reforms, correlate with well-being increases during this time period. Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that social safety nets can make economic growth compatible with sustained increases in well-being.
Hiroshi Ono (Ph.D., University of Chicago) is Professor of Human Resource Management at Hitotsubashi University Business School and Affiliated Professor of Sociology at Texas A&M University. He studies demographic change and labor market dynamics in Japan. He has also published extensively on digital inequality and social implications of the Internet. He is a frequent contributor for Japanese and global news media, both print and broadcast. He is the author of Redistributing Happiness: How Social Policies Shape Life Satisfaction (with K.S. Lee, Praeger, 2016). His work has been published in the American Sociological Review, Asian Business & Management, Oxford Economic Papers, Social Forces, and Social Science Quarterly, among others.