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How Did Japan Catch-up On The West? A Sectoral Analysis Of Anglo-Japanese Productivity Differences, 1885-2000

Author

Listed:
  • Broadberry, Stephen

    (London School of Economics)

  • Fukao, Kyoji

    (Hitotsubashi University)

  • Zammit, Nick

    (University of Warwick)

Abstract

Although Japanese economic growth after the Meiji Restoration is often characterised as a gradual process of trend acceleration, comparison with the United States suggests that catching-up only really started after 1950, due to the unusually dynamic performance of the US economy before 1950. A comparison with the United Kingdom, still the world productivity leader in 1868, reveals an earlier period of Japanese catching up between the 1890s and the 1920s, with a pause between the 1920s and the 1940s. Furthermore, this earlier process of catching up was driven by the dynamic productivity performance of Japanese manufacturing, which is also obscured by a comparison with the United States. Japan overtook the UK as a major exporter of manufactured goods not simply by catching-up in labour productivity terms, but by holding the growth of real wages below the growth of labour productivity so as to enjoy a unit labour cost advantage. Accounting for levels differences in labour productivity between Japan and the United Kingdom reveals an important role for capital in the catching-up process, casting doubt on the characterisation of Japan as following a distinctive Asian path of labour intensive industrialisation.

Suggested Citation

  • Broadberry, Stephen & Fukao, Kyoji & Zammit, Nick, 2015. "How Did Japan Catch-up On The West? A Sectoral Analysis Of Anglo-Japanese Productivity Differences, 1885-2000," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 231, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  • Handle: RePEc:cge:wacage:231
    as

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    File URL: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/centres/cage/manage/publications/231-2015_broadberry.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Stephen Broadberry & Douglas A. Irwin, 2007. "Lost Exceptionalism? Comparative Income and Productivity in Australia and the UK, 1861-1948," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 83(262), pages 262-274, September.
    2. Broadberry, S N, 1994. "Technological Leadership and Productivity Leadership in Manufacturing since the Industrial Revolution: Implications for the Convergence Debate," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(423), pages 291-302, March.
    3. de Vries, Jan, 1994. "The Industrial Revolution and the Industrious Revolution," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(02), pages 249-270, June.
    4. Broadberry, S. N., 1997. "Anglo-German productivity differences 1870 1990: A sectoral analysis," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(02), pages 247-267, August.
    5. Broadberry, Stephen N., 1998. "How Did the United States and Germany Overtake Britian? A Sectoral Analysis of Comparative Productivity Levels, 1870–1990," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(02), pages 375-407, June.
    6. Broadberry, Stephen N., 1993. "Manufacturing and the Convergence Hypothesis: What the Long-Run Data Show," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 53(04), pages 772-795, December.
    7. Mary O'Mahony & Marcel P. Timmer, 2009. "Output, Input and Productivity Measures at the Industry Level: The EU KLEMS Database," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(538), pages 374-403, June.
    8. repec:zbw:espost:162823 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Broadberry, Stephen & Burhop, Carsten, 2010. "Real Wages and Labor Productivity in Britain and Germany, 1871–1938: A Unified Approach to the International Comparison of Living Standards," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 70(02), pages 400-427, June.
    10. Broadberry, Stephen, 2003. "Relative Per Capita Income Levels in the United Kingdom and the United States since 1870: Reconciling Time-Series Projections and Direct-Benchmark Estimates," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 63(03), pages 852-863, September.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Whither Labor-Intensive Industrialization?
      by joymanlee in NEP-HIS blog on 2015-09-09 05:40:05
    2. Labour repression & the Indo-Japanese divergence
      by pseudoerasmus in Pseudoerasmus on 2017-10-02 06:04:55

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    Cited by:

    1. Guanghua Wan & Peter J. Morgan & Kyoji Fukao & Tangjun Yuan, 2016. "China's Growth Slowdown: Lessons from Japan's Experience and the Expected Impact on Japan, the USA and Germany," China & World Economy, Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, vol. 24(5), pages 122-146, September.
    2. MA, Ye & JONG, Herman de, 2016. "Unfolding the Turbulent Century: A Reconstruction of China's Economic Development, 1840-1912," Discussion paper series HIAS-E-29, Hitotsubashi Institute for Advanced Study, Hitotsubashi University.
    3. Broadberry, Stephen & Giordano, Claire & Zollino, Francesco, 2011. "A Sectoral Analysis of Italy's Development: 1861 -2010," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 62, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Labour productivity ; sectoral disaggregation ; international comparison JEL classification: N10 ; N30 ; O47 ; O57;

    JEL classification:

    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries

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