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Upstart Industrialization and Exports, Japan 1880-1910

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  • Christopher M. Meissner
  • John P. Tang

Abstract

Japanese exports between 1880 and 1910 increased massively in volume, changed composition, and shifted away from leading industrialized countries toward poorer Asian neighbors. The product mix also varied with the level of development of the destination, with new products and specializations more likely to ship to less developed regional economies. Using a new disaggregated data set of the bilateral-product level exports for the universe of Japanese trade partners, we find that changes in various extensive margins (new markets, new goods) account for over 30 percent of export growth over this period. Determinants of initial entry include trade costs and market size. Products started in a small number of markets and accumulated additional destinations building on earlier successes. Subsequent entry was also influenced by product-level characteristics interacting with destination-specific characteristics. We confirm that export growth for “new” products was stronger in LDCs than in advanced economies, but the latter still claimed a larger share of overall trade growth. There is little evidence that Japan exported low quality manufactured goods to new, low-income destinations. Instead, reductions in trade costs helped Japan augment market share. Exit is relatively rare but appears to be determined by market-specific demand-side effects and product-specific factors.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher M. Meissner & John P. Tang, 2017. "Upstart Industrialization and Exports, Japan 1880-1910," CEH Discussion Papers 04, Centre for Economic History, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  • Handle: RePEc:auu:hpaper:055
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    File URL: https://www.cbe.anu.edu.au/researchpapers/ceh/WP201704.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Jacopo Timini, 2018. "The margins of trade: market entry and sector spillovers, the case of Italy (1862-1913)," Working Papers 1836, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
    2. Alejandro Ayuso-Díaz & Antonio Tena-Junguito, 2019. "Trade in the Shadow of Power: Japanese Industrial Exports in the Interwar years," Working Papers 0153, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    3. Randall Morck & Bernard Yeung, 2017. "East Asian Financial and Economic Development," Working Papers id:12112, eSocialSciences.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    market entry; extensive margin; intensive margin; first wave of globalization; export diversification;

    JEL classification:

    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • N75 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - Asia including Middle East

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