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Happiness in Japan in Times of Upheaval: Empirical Evidence from the National Survey on Lifestyle Preferences

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  • Tim Tiefenbach

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  • Florian Kohlbacher

Abstract

Happiness economics has become an established field of research, and happiness and life satisfaction are increasingly considered important policy goals by governments around the globe. The Japanese government has recently started to follow this trend by regularly collecting data on personal happiness and its determinants through nationwide surveys since 2010. Analyzing data from the 2011 National Survey on Lifestyle Preferences, this paper has three aims: first, we use the Japanese happiness data to check for similarities and differences compared to well-known findings established in the international literature. Second, from a Japanese perspective we contribute to ongoing debates regarding inconclusive findings. Third, we analyze the happiness effects of the impact of the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11. Overall, our results confirm the majority of determinants established by previous studies in the field of happiness economics, such as income, unemployment and marriage. But we find significant differences regarding the effects of entrepreneurship and political participation. Finally, we do not find a statistically significant nation-wide drop in happiness after the disaster of 11 March 2011, but we observe a spatial effect indicating that respondents living closer to the Fukushima prefecture are less happy after the disaster. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Suggested Citation

  • Tim Tiefenbach & Florian Kohlbacher, 2015. "Happiness in Japan in Times of Upheaval: Empirical Evidence from the National Survey on Lifestyle Preferences," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 333-366, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jhappi:v:16:y:2015:i:2:p:333-366
    DOI: 10.1007/s10902-014-9512-9
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    1. repec:spr:jhappi:v:20:y:2019:i:1:d:10.1007_s10902-017-9942-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Hiromi Taniguchi & Deborah A. Potter, 2016. "Who are your Neighbors? Neighbor Relationships and Subjective Well-Being in Japan," Applied Research in Quality of Life, Springer;International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies, vol. 11(4), pages 1425-1443, December.
    3. repec:spr:jhappi:v:19:y:2018:i:4:d:10.1007_s10902-017-9859-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Jan Goebel & Christian Krekel & Tim Tiefenbach & Nicolas Ziebarth, 2015. "How natural disasters can affect environmental concerns, risk aversion, and even politics: evidence from Fukushima and three European countries," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 28(4), pages 1137-1180, October.
    5. Takuya Ishino & Akiko Kamesaka & Toshiya Murai & Masao Ogaki, 2014. "Effects of the Great East Japan Earthquake on Subjective Well-Being," RCER Working Papers 588, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
    6. Tiefenbach, Tim & Kohlbacher, Florian, 2015. "Disasters, donations, and tax law changes: Disentangling effects on subjective well-being by exploiting a natural experiment," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 94-112.
    7. repec:eee:japwor:v:44:y:2017:i:c:p:1-13 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. repec:spr:jhappi:v:19:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10902-016-9808-z is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Takahashi, Ana Maria, 2016. "Job stress in Japanese academia: The role of relative income, time allocation by task, and children," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 12-17.
    10. Efstratia Arampatzi & Martijn J. Burger & Natallia Novik, 2018. "Social Network Sites, Individual Social Capital and Happiness," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 99-122, January.

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