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The Role of Agriculture in the Early Phase of Industrialization: Policy implications of Japan's experience

Author

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  • Kasahara, Shigehisa

Abstract

The paper presents a brief theoretical and historical explanation of the transformative process of the Japanese economy from a stagnant agrarian society to a modern industrial one. Specifically, it analyzes the role of agriculture in the early stage of Japan's development in the last three decades of the 19th century, when the Meiji Government carried a determined political campaign to strengthen the country and to catch up with the West. By the time of World War I, the country had managed to be recognized as a significant industrial power, the then only non-Western case. Initially, the Government allocated fairly large amounts of financial resources to the agricultural sector, which resulted in a rapid growth in it. Much of the increased output or income was then transferred - through the application of a land tax by the Government and as a result of the savings and investment patterns of landlords - to the manufacturing sector in order to finance its rapid expansion. The paper also highlights various elements of particularity that the Japanese Government had to face at the initial stage of industrialization, and to contrast them with the present situation of typical commodity-producing countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Kasahara, Shigehisa, 1996. "The Role of Agriculture in the Early Phase of Industrialization: Policy implications of Japan's experience," MPRA Paper 38822, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:38822
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/38822/1/MPRA_paper_38822.pdf
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    the role of agriculture in development; Japanese agriculture; Meiji period; the role of the state in industrialization; the developmental state;

    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers
    • N15 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Asia including Middle East
    • N55 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Asia including Middle East
    • N65 - Economic History - - Manufacturing and Construction - - - Asia including Middle East
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • O23 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Fiscal and Monetary Policy in Development
    • O5 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries
    • Q1 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture
    • Q17 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agriculture in International Trade
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy

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