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The optimal selling strategy of a local merchant: the trades of cotton textiles with privileged guilds and unprivileged groups in the Tokugawa era (in Japanese)


  • Asuka Tanahashi

    () (Graduate School of Economics, Osaka University)


Through the Tokugawa era, the productivity in the agriculture steadily increased in the Kinai region, neighboring area of Osaka. However, according to the literature in the 1950s, the development of cottage industry in the region came to be stagnated in the late of Tokugawa era, because the merchant guilds in Osaka privileged by the Tokugawa Shogunate exercised the great bargaining power in trades with local merchants, exploited all the surplus from the trades so that local merchants and craftsmen/women were not allowed to hold surplus. Based on Marxian economics, many economic historians interested in the industrialization worked on the research related to this issue, and reached at the result stated above. Since the 1980s, deviated from Marxian views, fewer economic historians have worked on the development of cottage industry in the late Tokugawa era, and the trades between the privileged guilds and local merchants has been almost neglected as a research issue. However, still important points are how the surplus from trades were shared, which part took the lager portion, and how the local merchants responded to the actions of the city merchants, especially to understand the proto-industrialization, and industrialization. Thus this study is back to the topic discussed in the 1950s. This paper studies the cotton textile trades in the Kinai region. The case this paper inquires is trades between a local merchant in the State of Kawachi, and both of privileged guilds and unprivileged groups of large merchants in Osaka. the commercial center. The point was that the player who took higher risk generally took larger share of surplus. From the study on this case, local merchants seemed to make a kind of portfolio of trades: the ghigh risk and high return h trades with unprivileged groups of city merchants, and the glow risk and low return h trades with privileged guilds. Their businesses were balanced between the risk and the returns.

Suggested Citation

  • Asuka Tanahashi, 2006. "The optimal selling strategy of a local merchant: the trades of cotton textiles with privileged guilds and unprivileged groups in the Tokugawa era (in Japanese)," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 06-15, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP).
  • Handle: RePEc:osk:wpaper:0615

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. David Andolfatto & Paul Gomme, 2003. "Monetary Policy Regimes and Beliefs," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(1), pages 1-30, February.
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    3. Potter Simon M., 2000. "A Nonlinear Model of the Business Cycle," Studies in Nonlinear Dynamics & Econometrics, De Gruyter, vol. 4(2), pages 1-11, July.
    4. Lee, I.H. & Chalkley, M., 1994. "Asymmetric business cycles," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 9411, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
    5. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1978. "Asset Prices in an Exchange Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1429-1445, November.
    6. Keith Sill & Jeffrey M. Wrase, 1999. "Exchange rates, monetary policy regimes, and beliefs," Working Papers 99-6, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
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    More about this item


    commerce in early modern Japan; rural textile industry; privileged merchants' guild; local merchants; governance of trade.;

    JEL classification:

    • N75 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - Asia including Middle East
    • N95 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Asia including Middle East
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation

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