The role of the merchant coalition in pre-modern Japanese economic development: an historical institutional analysis
This paper examines the role of the merchant coalition (kabu nakama) in the eighteenth and the first half of the nineteenth century in Japan, from the standpoint of Historical Institutional Analysis (Greif[1997, 1998]). Quantitative economic history literature has made clear that market-based economic growth started around the end of the eighteenth century in Japan. On the other hand, the Bakufu, the central government, repeatedly promulgated Aitai Sumeshi Rei (Mutual Settlement Decree), prescribing that the public authorities would not accept suits on pecuniary affairs. This implies that the public system for third-party enforcement was not working well. Activities of the merchant coalition substituted for the public third-party enforcement. Many of the merchant coalitions' codes wrote that all of each coalition's members should suspend transaction with those who cheated any one of the members of the coalition. This was the multilateral punishment strategy (MPS), formulated by Greif. It is hypothesized that kabu nakama played the role of contract enforcement using the MPS, which reduced incentives for the transaction counterparts to cheat, and thereby promoted a market economy. Also, this paper empirically examines this hypothesis, using an opportunity of a natural experiment. In 1841, the Bakufu prohibited the coalition, intending to eliminate monopoly. The above hypothesis implies that prohibition of the coalition lowered the performance of the market economy. As predicted, we found that the growth rate of the real money supply contracted, that the efficiency of price arbitrage declined, and that inflation rate went up.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Duffy, William J. & Yamamura, Kozo, 1971. "Monetization and integration of markets in Tokugawa Japan: A spectral analysis," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 395-423.
- Yamamura, Kozo, 1973. "Toward a Reexamination of the Economic History of Tokugawa Japan, 1600–1867," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 33(03), pages 509-546, September.
- Masahiko Aoki, 2001. "Toward a Comparative Institutional Analysis," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262011875.
- Greif, Avner, 1993. "Contract Enforceability and Economic Institutions in Early Trade: the Maghribi Traders' Coalition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 525-48, June.
- Greif, Avner, 1989. "Reputation and Coalitions in Medieval Trade: Evidence on the Maghribi Traders," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(04), pages 857-882, December.
- Ohkura, Takehiko & Shimbo, Hiroshi, 1978. "The Tokugawa monetary policy in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 101-124, January.
- Hanley, Susan B., 1983. "A High Standard of Living in Nineteenth-Century Japan: Fact or Fantasy?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 43(01), pages 183-192, March.
- Greif, Avner, 1994. "Cultural Beliefs and the Organization of Society: A Historical and Theoretical Reflection on Collectivist and Individualist Societies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 912-50, October.
- "Wakita, Shigeru", 1996. "Rational Expectations in the Rice Futures Market of Osaka, in the 18th Century," Economic Review, Hitotsubashi University, vol. 47(3), pages 238-247, July.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:42:y:2005:i:2:p:184-201. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.