Comparing Australia and Japan

Topics: Unemployment, Economics, Gross domestic product Pages: 6 (1436 words) Published: July 21, 2013
Australia and Japan

Economic growth

Australia is a small open economy with a population of over 21 million. It is characterized as an advanced economy by the World Bank with a gross domestic product of US$766.8 billion; whereas Japan has the third largest economy in the world and is the second most technologically powered economy after the US. It has a population of over 127.4 million and has a GDP of US$4.346 trillion. However in 2007 Australia had a slightly higher GDP per capita than Japan with US$34,943 and a ranking of 19th, compared to Japan’s US$34,024 and a ranking of 20th. Australia was also estimated to have grown in GDP by 3.9% in 2007 while Japan grew only by 1.8%.

Employment and Unemployment

Australia has an unemployment rate of 4.3%, which is well below average of the Organization of Economic Cooperation (OECD) total of 5.6%. However Japan has an even lower rate of 3.9%. Australia also has a much smaller labour force compared to Japan due to Australia’s small population size. Australia has a labour force of almost 11 million with a population of over 21 million, while Japan has a total labour force of 66 million with population of over 127 million. Figure 1.1 shows how Japan and Australia have similar figures in relation to the share of labour force by industry. It shows that the majority of the labour force is employed in services. This is due to an international trend that is also present in Singapore and the USA. Thus we can see that Australia and Japan both perform well in relation to employment and unemployment but as Japan has a larger labour force it is able to produce at a much greater rate. Their lower unemployment rate also indicates that Japan is able to utilise their labour resources more efficiently than Australia.

Quality of Life

Quality of life is measured by the Human Development Index, which is a narrow but popular measure of quality of life. Australia was ranked third in 2005, with an HDI of 0.962, while Japan had a lower HDI of 0.953. Some other quality of life indicators are also shown in fig.1.2. These figures show that Australia and Japan have a similar quality of life, with both nations living in very developed societies. However Japan has a lower percentage of population living in urban areas than Australia, which could be due to the portion of the labour force that are employed in primary industries located in country areas. Japanese workers also work longer hours on average than Australians.

|Quality of life indicators |Australia |Japan | |Human Development index (2005) |0.962 |0.953 | |Life expectancy at birth, total (years) 2007 est. |80.62 |82.02 | |Urban Population (% of total) 2005 |88.2 |65.8 | |Adult literacy rate (% of population aged 15 and over) |99 |99 | |Under-five mortality rate (per 1,000 live births) 2005 |6 |4 | |Internet users (per 1,000 people) 2005 |698 |668 | |Average annual hours actually worked per person (2006) |1714 |1784 |

Figure 1.2

Environmental Quality

Australia is very rich in minerals and it makes up a large portion of its export goods. It is also the reason that Australia uses and emits such a high amount of non-renewable energy such as coal and oil, while Japan only uses coal for only 21.1% of its total energy supply source, as seen in fig 1.3. Japan also faces environmental issues such as:

• air pollution from power plant emissions resulting in acid rain • acidification of lakes and reservoirs
← degrading water...
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