This paper presents an approach for time-series livability assessment using DEA (Data Envelopment Analysis), a mathematical programming technique for measuring the relative efficiency of DMUs (Decision Making Units) with multiple inputs and multiple outputs. Regarding each year as a separate DMU in DEA, and replacing the inputs and the outputs with negative and positive social indicators respectively, we evaluate Japan's livability for the period 1956-1990. Results of the analysis using eight social indicators identify 20 DEA livable years out of the 35 and find eight best-balanced years. It is concluded that DEA, which enables non-uniform, multi-dimensional and relative evaluation, can be a valuable analytic tool in quality-of-life research as well.
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