Journal Article 日本は「格差社会」になったのか : 比較経済史にみる日本の所得格差
Did Japan Become an Unequal Society ?: Japanʼs Income Disparity in Comparative Historical Perspective

森口, 千晶

68 ( 2 )  , pp.169 - 189 , 2017-04-26 , 岩波書店
日本国内では格差の問題が社会的関心を集め,日本はもはや「一億総中流社会」ではなく「格差社会」であるという認識が浸透しつつある.本論文では,比較経済史の視座から日本における所得格差の長期的変遷を俯瞰し,日本は本当に「格差社会」になったのかを検証する.高度成長期に「格差なき成長」を遂げたわが国は,1980 年代には国際的にみても平等度の高い社会を実現した.この「日本型平等社会」の特質は,再分配前の所得における世帯を単位とする平等にあり,企業による正社員への人的資本投資と雇用保障,男性正社員を世帯主とする標準世帯,夫婦による性別役割分業,および非稼得者への私的扶助,を前提としていた.しかし,1980 年代以降の急速な少子高齢化と世帯構造の多様化,さらに1990 年以降の長期不況はこれらの前提を大きく揺るがし,既存の制度に包摂されない社会の構成員を増大させることになった.日本における格差拡大の特徴は富裕層の富裕化を伴わない「低所得層の貧困化」にあり,世界の趨勢とは一線を画している.日本の直面する真の課題は貧困化と革新力の低迷であり,世帯よりも個人を,同質性よりも多様性を尊重する新たな制度を構築しなければならない.
Within the Japanese society, there is a growing consensus that Japan is no longer an equal society but is a society of economic disparities. The objective of this study is to re-examine this view from a comparative historical perspective. Using long-run statistics, it documents the process by which Japan has become one of the most egalitarian societies among the developed economies over the period of high economic growth and remained so well into the 1990s. Importantly, the Japanese-style egalitarianism rests on equality in household income before government intervention and is based on the premises of(a)corporate provision of employment security and high human capital investment in full-time workers,(b)households headed by a male full-time worker and gender-based division of labor within household, and(c)family-based assistance of non-working individuals under limited public assistance. These fundamental premises, however, began to falter with rapid aging and drastic changes in household structure since the 1980s combined with prolonged economic stagnation since the 1990s. Recent rise in economic inequality in Japan is characterized by the lower middle class falling without the rich getting richer. In other words, the challenge faced by the Japanese society is not growing disparity but growing poverty and insufficient innovation.

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