Skills, Life Satisfaction, and the Japan Paradox: A Puzzle for Multidisciplinary Research

  • Satoshi ARAKI (Speaker)

Activity: Talks or PresentationsOther Invited Talks or Presentations


Scholars have long investigated the structure and determinants of subjective well-being (SWB). Meanwhile, recent research has argued skills are the key to socio-economic success of individuals and societies, ranging from preferable labour market outcomes to better health status and SWB. Drawing on these arguments, the present paper re-examines the linkage between the aggregate skills level of societies and people’s life satisfaction (LS). A cross-national multilevel regression analysis, using the large-scale survey data for 36,158 in 25 countries, first confirms the positive association between the societal skills level and individuals’ LS, such that highly skilled societies are more likely than less skilled counterparts to show higher LS among the population. However, there is one obvious outlier where LS is significantly low despite its notably high-level skills: Japan. Elucidating the mechanism behind this overall cross-national trend and Japan’s peculiar position – what one may call “Japan Paradox” – is a promising multidisciplinary research agenda as it contributes to better understanding not only Japanese society as such but also the broader social structure and socio-demographic conditions that may hinder the potentially positive assets regardless of national boundaries. I argue this line of study eventually leads to sounder social policies for human flourishing.
Period11 Feb 2022
Event titleChina and Regional Studies Joint Webinar Series
Event typeSeminar
OrganisersSchool of Graduate Studies, University of Turku