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The Depressing Effect of Agricultural Institutions on the Prewar Japanese Economy

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  • Fumio Hayashi
  • Edward C. Prescott

Abstract

Why didn't the Japanese miracle take place before World War II? The culprit we identify is a barrier that kept prewar agricultural employment constant. Using a standard neoclassical two-sector growth model, we show that the barrier-induced sectoral distortion and an ensuring lack of capital accumulation account well for the depressed output level. Without the barrier, Japan's prewar GNP per worker would have been at least about a half of that of the United States, not about a third as in the data. The labor barrier existed because, we argue, the prewar patriarchy forced the son designated as heir to stay in agriculture. (c) 2008 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

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  • Fumio Hayashi & Edward C. Prescott, 2008. "The Depressing Effect of Agricultural Institutions on the Prewar Japanese Economy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(4), pages 573-632, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:116:y:2008:i:4:p:573-632
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hayami, Yujiro & Ogasawara, Junichi, 1999. "Changes in the Sources of Modern Economic Growth: Japan Compared with the United States," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 1-21, March.
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    JEL classification:

    • E1 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity
    • N3 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy

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