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Household Strategies of Labor Allocation and Living Standards of Pregnant Women in Modern Rural Japan: A Case Studies of Aomori Prefecture and North-eastern Part of Japan in the 1910s and 1930s


  • Izumi Shirai

    () (Graduate School of Economics, Osaka University)


In this paper, it examines the relationship between the infant mortality rate (IMR) and introduction of new agricultural laborsaving technology which contributed to reduce labor absorption in rice production and labor intensity and increase the agricultural productivity by using the data of modern rural North-eastern Japan c.a. 1910s to 1930s. Assuming that IMR is the index of the living standards and the agricultural productivity and labor intensity is the one of the level of introduction of new technology, we focus on the structure of infant death in order to clarify the general labor environment of pregnant women. As results of the analysis, the followings are becoming clarified; 1) the innovation and diffusion of agricultural technology, by which human agricultural labor was dramatically saved and the agricultural productivity was increased, caused the decline of IMR through the rise of agricultural productivity; 2) the expansion of cottage industry among the peasant household contributed to decline of IMR by reallocating family labor mainly to non-agricultural works. From these results, this paper presents the change of the labor allocation strategy of the peasant household makes the effect on the improvement of their living standards in modern rural Japan.

Suggested Citation

  • Izumi Shirai, 2007. "Household Strategies of Labor Allocation and Living Standards of Pregnant Women in Modern Rural Japan: A Case Studies of Aomori Prefecture and North-eastern Part of Japan in the 1910s and 1930s," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 07-20, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP).
  • Handle: RePEc:osk:wpaper:0720

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    infant mortality; peasant household; agricultural technological development; dual occupation; household strategy of labor allocation;

    JEL classification:

    • N35 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Asia including Middle East
    • N55 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Asia including Middle East
    • R29 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Other

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