Evaluating shifts in Japan's quality-of-life
This paper presents a Data Envelopment Analysis/Malmquist index (DEA/MI) analysis of the change in quality-of-life (QOL), which is defined as the state of a social system as measured by multiple social-indicators. Applying panel data from Japan's 47 prefectures for the period 1975-2002, we identify significant movement in the country's overall QOL using a "cumulative" frontier shift index. Results suggest that Japan's QOL rose during the so-called "bubble economy years" (second half of the 1980s), and then dropped in the succeeding "lost-decade" (1990s). We also identify those prefectures considered most "responsible" for the shift(s) in QOL. Moreover, the use of both upper- and lower-bound DEAs enabled an evaluation of both "good" and "bad" movements in QOL.
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