CONCEPT OF THE QUALITY OF LIFE AND INDEXING
This study purports to build the concept of the quality of life (QOL) and to suggest the useful method for constructing an overall index by which the QOL can be evaluated between regions. The paper begins with a review of the historical background and three main viewpoints regarding QOL. Three main approaches are (1) basic needs approach, (2) human development approach, and (3) capability approach. In an effort to build the concept of QOL, the idea of universal human needs by expanding the concept of basic needs is derived to supplement the abstractness and vagueness which the concept of functionings in a capability approach has. It also considers the necessity for adding subjective dimension of emotional and existential satisfaction to the concept of the quality of life. The paper discusses the methods for constructing an aggregate index in order to compare QOL between nations. In doing this, two things are discussed. First, measurement units need to be universalized for the sake of statistical work. Standardization method that involves the transformation of data on individual variables into z scores is suggested as a good method for universalizing the units. Second, the methods for calculating weights that are indispensable for constructing indexes of various indicators are discussed. The choice of weighting techniques will become more crucial in developing an overall measure of QOL between nations.
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