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Agglomeration or Selection? The Case of the Japanese Silk-Reeling Clusters, 1908-1915

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  • Arimoto, Yutaka
  • Nakajima, Kentaro
  • Okazaki, Tetsuji

Abstract

We examine two sources of productivity improvement in the specialized industrial clusters of the early twentieth century Japanese silk-reeling industry. Agglomeration improves the productivity of each plant through positive externalities, shifting plant-level productivity distribution to the right. Selection expels less productive plants through competition, truncating distribution on the left. We find no evidence confirming a right shift in the distribution in clusters or that agglomeration promotes faster productivity growth. Rather, the distribution in clusters was severely left truncated, even for younger plants. These findings imply that the plant-selection effect was the source of higher productivity in the Japanese silk-reeling clusters.

Suggested Citation

  • Arimoto, Yutaka & Nakajima, Kentaro & Okazaki, Tetsuji, 2011. "Agglomeration or Selection? The Case of the Japanese Silk-Reeling Clusters, 1908-1915," PRIMCED Discussion Paper Series 7, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  • Handle: RePEc:hit:primdp:7
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    File URL: http://hermes-ir.lib.hit-u.ac.jp/rs/bitstream/10086/18972/1/No7-dp_10_07.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ciccone, Antonio & Hall, Robert E, 1996. "Productivity and the Density of Economic Activity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 54-70, March.
    2. Pierre‐Philippe Combes & Gilles Duranton & Laurent Gobillon & Diego Puga & Sébastien Roux, 2012. "The Productivity Advantages of Large Cities: Distinguishing Agglomeration From Firm Selection," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 80(6), pages 2543-2594, November.
    3. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
    4. Gregory Corcos & Massimo Del Gatto & Giordano Mion & Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano, 2012. "Productivity and Firm Selection: Quantifying the ‘New’ Gains from Trade," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(561), pages 754-798, June.
    5. Kristian Behrens & Giordano Mion & Yasusada Murata & Jens Südekum, 2014. "Trade, Wages, And Productivity," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 55, pages 1305-1348, November.
    6. Richard E. Baldwin & Toshihiro Okubo, 2006. "Heterogeneous firms, agglomeration and economic geography: spatial selection and sorting," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(3), pages 323-346, June.
    7. Chad Syverson, 2004. "Market Structure and Productivity: A Concrete Example," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(6), pages 1181-1222, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Valter Di Giacinto & Matteo Gomellini & Giacinto Micucci & Marcello Pagnini, 2014. "Mapping local productivity advantages in Italy: industrial districts, cities or both?," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(2), pages 365-394.
    4. Antonio Accetturo & Valter Di Giacinto & Giacinto Micucci & Marcello Pagnini, 2013. "Geography, productivity and trade: does selection explain why some locations are more productive than others?," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 910, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economic geography; Heterogenous firms; Industrial clusters; Productivity;

    JEL classification:

    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • L10 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - General

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