On Well-Being of Households in Japan and Post-Disaster Reinstatement

Publication | January 2021

Housing, leisure, job, income, and health are dominant contributors to a household's well-being.

There are multidimensional short- and long-term impacts of disasters (natural and man-made) on human well-being. Despite this, restitution strategies have predominantly relied on asset-based approaches to measure disaster losses and craft such strategies. There is a growing realization that for comprehensive restitution of disaster-affected households, it would be necessary to take account of multiple dimensions of households' well-being and reconstruct all that constitutes it. When viewed from Sen’s “capability approach,” reconstitution of well-being equates to rebuilding households’ central capabilities that are necessary for a decent quality of life, e.g., having shelter security, food security, physical and mental health, and the like. With the intention of designing a “resilient compensation mechanism” that reinstalls the “capabilities” of households recovering from losses post-disaster, we identify essential determinants of households’ well-being that will be the focal point of post-disaster compensation or recovery mechanisms. We use Japanese household panel survey data (JHPS/KHPS) wherein households report their satisfaction with overall life and its five dimensions, namely housing, leisure, health, income, and employment. Further, we identify the main factors (including resources, personal characteristics and familial characteristics of households) that constitute households’ satisfaction across each of the five dimensions. Findings suggest that all five dimensions make significant and positive contributions to overall well-being, with leisure and health as the most dominant contributors followed by income, housing, and employment (in that order). Based on these findings, we argue for designing a “resilient compensation mechanism” with a combination of monetary and nonmonetary strategies that assist affected households in reconstructing capabilities across multiple dimensions of life.


Additional Details

  • Social development and protection
  • Japan