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Money, credit and Smithian growth in Tokugawa Japan

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  • Osamu Saito
  • Tokihiko Settsu
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    Abstract

    In the latter half of the Tokugawa period economic growth, however sluggish its pace was, took place in the form of rural industrialisation and the expansion of inter-regional trade. This paper addresses the following questions: how capital was mobilised for such rural-centred growth in production and commerce, and how the quasi-capital markets worked in both the Osaka economy and in the countryside, with special reference to trends in interest rates over time, in a pre-modern setting of market segmentation. The paper will argue that although Tokugawa Japan's formal institutions were far from ideal, the credit systems did function as quasi-capital markets reasonably well within each commercial network formed through relational contracting, and that for the Smithian process of early modern growth to work, inter-regional competition mattered more than institutional maturity of the nation's market environment.

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    File URL: http://hi-stat.ier.hit-u.ac.jp/research/discussion/2005/pdf/D05-139.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University in its series Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series with number d05-139.

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    Date of creation: Feb 2006
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    Handle: RePEc:hst:hstdps:d05-139

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    Cited by:
    1. Daniel M. Bernhofen & John C. Brown, 2009. "Testing the General Validity of the Heckscher-Ohlin Theorem: The Natural Experiment of Japan," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd09-058, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.

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