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Hand looms, power looms, and changing production organizations: the case of the Kiryu weaving district in the early 20th century Japan

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  • Hashino, Tomoko
  • Otsuka, Keijiro

Abstract

This study finds that the development process of the Kiryu silk weaving district in Japan from 1895 to 1930 can be divided at least into the two phases, i.e., Smithian growth based on the inter-firm division of labor using hand looms and Schumpeterian development based on factory system using power looms. Weaving manufacturers-cum-contractors led Smithian growth by organizing sub-contracts with out-weavers in rural villages and grew faster than factory production systems. Newly emerged joint stock firms played a role of genuine entrepreneurs by realizing significant scale economies. During this new phase, weaving manufacturers-cum-contractors survived and also introduced new production system.

Suggested Citation

  • Hashino, Tomoko & Otsuka, Keijiro, 2012. "Hand looms, power looms, and changing production organizations: the case of the Kiryu weaving district in the early 20th century Japan," Economic History Working Papers 41659, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:wpaper:41659
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    File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/41659/
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. ARIMOTO Yutaka & NAKAJIMA Kentaro & OKAZAKI Tetsuji, 2010. "Agglomeration or Selection? The Case of the Japanese Silk-reeling Industry, 1909-1916," Discussion papers 10003, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    2. Minami, Ryoshin, 1977. "Mechanical Power in the Industrialization of Japan," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 37(04), pages 935-958, December.
    3. Minami, Ryoshin & Makino, Fumio, 1983. "Conditions for Technological Diffusion : Case of Power Looms," Hitotsubashi Journal of Economics, Hitotsubashi University, vol. 23(2), pages 1-20, February.
    4. Jones, S. R. H., 1987. "Technology, Transaction Costs, and the Transition to Factory Production in the British Silk Industry, 1700–1870," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 47(01), pages 71-96, March.
    5. Tomoko Hashino & Takafumi Kurosawa, 2011. "Beyond Marshallian Agglomeration Economies: The Roles of the Local Trade Association in a Meiji Japan Weaving District (1868-1912)," Discussion Papers 1113, Graduate School of Economics, Kobe University.
    6. Stephen Broadberry & Andrew Marrison, 2002. "External economies of scale in the Lancashire cotton industry, 1900–1950[Without im]," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 55(1), pages 51-77, February.
    7. George J. Stigler, 1951. "The Division of Labor is Limited by the Extent of the Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59, pages 185-185.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tomoko Hashino & Keijiro Otsuka, 2013. "Hand looms, power looms, and changing production organizations: the case of the Kiryū weaving district in early twentieth-century Japan," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 66(3), pages 785-804, August.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    industrial district; production organizations; weaving industry; 20th century Japan; economic development;

    JEL classification:

    • N95 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Asia including Middle East

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