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

  • Kyoji Fukao
  • Debin Ma
  • Tangjun Yuan

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.

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File URL: http://hi-stat.ier.hit-u.ac.jp/research/discussion/2004/pdf/D04-66.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University in its series Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series with number d04-66.

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Date of creation: Jan 2005
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Handle: RePEc:hst:hstdps:d04-66
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  1. Summers, Robert & Heston, Alan, 1991. "The Penn World Table (Mark 5): An Expanded Set of International Comparisons, 1950-1988," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(2), pages 327-68, May.
  2. Bela Balassa, 1964. "The Purchasing-Power Parity Doctrine: A Reappraisal," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 72, pages 584.
  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. 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.
  6. Bhagwati, Jagdish N, 1984. "Why Are Services Cheaper in the Poor Countries?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 94(374), pages 279-86, June.
  7. 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.
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