Municipality-level Panel Data and Municipal Mergers in Japan

Author Name KONDO Keisuke (Fellow, RIETI)
Creation Date/NO. March 2019 19-T-001
Research Project RIETI Data Management Project
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This paper explains a method of constructing municipality-level panel data for Japan for the period of 1980–2015. Municipal mergers conducted around 2005, which are collectively known as "the Great Mergers in the Heisei era," resulted in a reduction of almost half of the number of Japanese municipalities. The significant changes in shapes of municipalities resulting from these municipal merges cause difficulties in constructing municipality-level panel data. To address this problem, this paper proposes a method of aggregating municipal districts from the past with geographical units that remain identical throughout the whole period.