Currently, rural areas in Japan face severe threats to its sustainability. The economic policy called “Abenomics” (named after the prime minister) puts much emphasis on reinvigoration of local economies. However, authors believe that, compared to urban residents, wellbeing of rural residents is more likely to be affected by factors other than economic ones. If so, degrowth transition might contribute to the welfare of rural residents and could lead to the revitalization of rural areas, because degrowth does not persist on economic growth.
To verify this hypothesis, this study aims to investigate whether wellbeing of rural residents in Japan is more likely to be affected by factors other than economic ones, under the comparison with urban residents. To achieve this aim, we applied our previous study to estimate the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) in both rural and urban area, and conducted an internet survey where data on individual subjective well-being (SWB) are asked nationwide. First, we estimate Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI) for components of the GPI to understand diversity of them. Second, we analyse the difference in factors affecting on SWB between urban and rural residents.
The results show that; when we look at components of the GPI, HHI is higher in urban than in rural, and some economic factors affect more in urban than in rural, which means small number of economic factors contribute significantly to increase GPI in urban; when we look at SWB, various factors other than economic ones affect SWB particularly for rural residents. From these results, we conclude that degrowth transition can contribute to the wellbeing of rural residents.
This media entry was a contribution to the special session „Can degrowth transition contribute to the wellbeing of rural residents? “ at the 5th International Degrowth Conference in Budapest in 2016.