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Vol. 71, No. 1, pp. 102-122 (2020)

“The Concept and Measurement of Standard of Living Revisited”
Yukinobu Kitamura (Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University)

Standard of living is a relatively widely used concept of the standard in economics. However, no formal definition has been established. The study aims to explore the standard of living of workers in economic history, specifically during the First Industrial Revolution in Britain. In modern economics, Amartya Sen proposed the capability approach to measure standard of living in the 1980s. It entails the measurement of standard of living in terms of its capability vis-à-vis the function of goods and services rather than in terms of purchases and ownership. This approach obtained non-negligible support from other scholars. However, Sen has not shown concrete examples of measuring and evaluating multidimensional capabilities and functioning. This paper seeks to implement and realize the capability approach under the current industrial revolution with special emphasis on the digital economy and informational technology. In the process of integrating statistical data, factors such as individual health and medical, neural, and genome information will be matched with individual social, economic, and educational status; social security; and tax information over the course of a life cycle. Results are expected to yield a comprehensive panel data on living standards with which the capability approach can be fully implemented.