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Real Gdp In Pre-War East Asia: A 1934-36 Benchmark Purchasing Power Parity Comparison With The U.S

  • Kyoji Fukao
  • Debin Ma
  • Tangjun Yuan

This article provides estimates of purchasing power parity (PPP) converters for expenditure side GDP of Japan/China, Japan/U.S. and China/U.S. in 1934-36 through a detailed matching of prices for more than 50 types of goods and services in private consumption and about 20 items or sectors for investment and government expenditure. Linking with the earlier studies on the price levels of Taiwan and Korea relative to Japan, we derive the mid-1930s benchmark PPP adjusted per capita income of Japan, China, Taiwan and Korea at 32, 11, 23, and 12 percent of the U.S. level respectively. These estimates correct the consistent downward bias in East Asian income levels based on market exchange rate conversions. Compared with Angus Maddison's estimates based on the 1990 benchmark back-projection, our current-price based result are 18 and 44 percent lower for Japan and Korea, and 4 and 10 percent higher for Taiwan and China respectively in the mid-1930s. We develop a preliminary theoretical and empirical framework to examine the possible source of the biases in the back-projection method. The article ends with a discussion on historical implications of our findings on the initial conditions and long-term growth dynamics in East Asia. Copyright � 2007 The Authors; Journal compilation � International Association for Research in Income and Wealth 2007.

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Article provided by International Association for Research in Income and Wealth in its journal Review of Income and Wealth.

Volume (Year): 53 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3 (09)
Pages: 503-537

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Handle: RePEc:bla:revinw:v:53:y:2007:i:3:p:503-537
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  1. Summers, Robert & Heston, Alan, 1991. "The Penn World Table (Mark 5): An Expanded Set of International Comparisons, 1950-1988," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(2), pages 327-68, May.
  2. Godo, Yoshihisa & Hayami, Yujiro, 2002. "Catching Up in Education in the Economic Catch-Up of Japan with the United States, 1890-1990," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 50(4), pages 961-78, July.
  3. "Yuan, Tangjun" & "Fukao, Kyoji", 2002. "The Purchasing Power Parity of Japan, Korea and Taiwan in the 1930s―An International Comparison of Real Consumption―," Economic Review, Hitotsubashi University, vol. 53(4), pages 322-336, January.
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