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Economic Development and Income Distribution in Japan: An Assessment of the Kuznets Hypothesis

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  • Minami, Ryoshin

Abstract

In this paper the author estimates the income distribution in pre-war Japan. For 1921-39, two sets of statistics were combined: national personal income tax data for high-income classes and household tax (one of the local taxes) data in 149 villages, 45 towns and 16 cities for low-income classes. For 1891-1921, a preliminary estimation was attempted based on 39 selected villages, towns and cities. From this estimation, he found a regressing income distribution for the pre-war period and a dramatic decrease in inequality between pre-war and post-war periods. The first finding supports the Kuznets hypothesis; the second does not. Rather, it suggests that the relatively equal distribution in contemporary Japan was nor a natural consequence of economic growth but a result of institutional changes immediately after the Second World War. Copyright 1998 by Oxford University Press.

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  • Minami, Ryoshin, 1998. "Economic Development and Income Distribution in Japan: An Assessment of the Kuznets Hypothesis," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(1), pages 39-58, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:22:y:1998:i:1:p:39-58
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    Cited by:

    1. CAI, Fang & DU, Yang, 2011. "Wage increases, wage convergence, and the Lewis turning point in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 601-610.
    2. Zheng, Fei & Xu, Li Da & Tang, Bingyong, 2000. "Forecasting regional income inequality in China," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 124(2), pages 243-254, July.
    3. Chiaki Moriguchi & Emmanuel Saez, 2006. "The Evolution of Income Concentration in Japan, 1886-2002: Evidence from Income Tax Statistics," NBER Working Papers 12558, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. ALi Abdel Gadir Ali, "undated". "Poverty in the Arab Region: A Selective Review," API-Working Paper Series 0402, Arab Planning Institute - Kuwait, Information Center.
    5. Ali A. Ali & Ibrahim A. Elbadawi, 1999. "Inequality and the Dynamics of Poverty and Growth," CID Working Papers 32, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    6. Jiwei Lou & Shuilin Wang, 2008. "Public Finance in China : Reform and Growth for a Harmonious Society," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6360.
    7. Saito, Osamu, 2005. "Pre-modern economic growth revisited: Japan and the West," Economic History Working Papers 22475, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.

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