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International Comparison in Historical Perspective: Reconstructing the 1934-36 Benchmark Purchasing Power Parity for Japan, Korea and Taiwan

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  • Kyoji Fukao
  • Debin Ma
  • Tangjun Yuan

Abstract

This article provides the first expenditure approach estimate of purchasing power parity (PPP) converters for 1934-36 Japan, Korea and Taiwan. We matched all together 70 to 80 types of goods and services for private consumption, government expenditure and investment using three levels of weights derived from actual expenditure surveys. We find that the 1934-6 average prices of Korea for private consumption, investment and government expenditure were about 0.86, 0.89 and 0.98 times that of Japan respectively; and for Taiwan 0.84, 0.87 and 0.95 respectively. This gives the 1934-6 Korea and Taiwan overall GDE average price levels of 0.87 and 0.86 respectively that of Japan. Our new benchmark estimate is an improvement over existing converters based either on exchange rates or the 1990 backward projection method, which was embedded with index number biases. It provides a vital link for a long-term overview of structural change, ethnic income distribution and the historical convergence or divergence for these three economies in the past century.

Suggested Citation

  • Kyoji Fukao & Debin Ma & Tangjun Yuan, 2005. "International Comparison in Historical Perspective: Reconstructing the 1934-36 Benchmark Purchasing Power Parity for Japan, Korea and Taiwan," Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series d04-66, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  • Handle: RePEc:hst:hstdps:d04-66
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kravis, Irving B, 1984. "Comparative Studies of National Incomes and Prices," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 22(1), pages 1-39, March.
    2. Prados de la Escosura, Leandro, 2000. "International Comparisons of Real Product, 1820-1990: An Alternative Data Set," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 1-41, January.
    3. van Zanden, Jan Luiten, 2003. "Rich and poor before the Industrial Revolution: a comparison between Java and the Netherlands at the beginning of the 19th century," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 1-23, January.
    4. Yuan, Tangjun & Fukao, Kyoji, 2002. "The Purchasing Power Parity of Japan, Korea and Taiwan in the 1930s―An International Comparison of Real Consumption―," Economic Review, Hitotsubashi University, vol. 53(4), pages 322-336, January.
    5. Bela Balassa, 1964. "The Purchasing-Power Parity Doctrine: A Reappraisal," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 72, pages 584-584.
    6. Edward Ames & John A. Carlson, 1968. "Production Index Bias As A Measure Of Economic Development," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(1), pages 24-37.
    7. Robert Summers & Alan Heston, 1991. "The Penn World Table (Mark 5): An Expanded Set of International Comparisons, 1950–1988," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 327-368.
    8. Bhagwati, Jagdish N, 1984. "Why Are Services Cheaper in the Poor Countries?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 94(374), pages 279-286, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Myung Soo Cha, 2012. "Wage Convergence and Divergence in East Asia, 1900-39," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd12-253, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.

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