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Historical Sources of Institutional Trajectories in Economic Development: China, Japan, and Korea Compared

  • Aoki, Masahiko

    (Asian Development Bank Institute)

This essay provides a game-theoretic, endogenous view of institutions, and then applies the idea to identify the sources of institutional trajectories of economic development in China, Japan, and Korea. It stylizes the Malthusian-phase of East Asian economies as peasant-based economies in which small families allocated their working time between farming on small plots—leased or owned—and handcrafting for personal consumption and markets. It then compares institutional arrangements across these economies that sustained otherwise similar economies. It characterizes the varied nature of the political states of Qing China, Tokugawa Japan, and Yi Korea by focusing on the way in which agricultural taxes were enforced. It also identifies different patterns of social norms of trust that were institutional complements to, or substitutes for, political states. Finally, it traces the path-dependent transformations of these state-norm combinations along subsequent transitions to post-Malthusian phases of economic growth in the respective economies.

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Paper provided by Asian Development Bank Institute in its series ADBI Working Papers with number 397.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: 03 Dec 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ris:adbiwp:0397
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  1. Jiahua Che & Yingyi Qian, . "Insecure Property Rights and Government Ownership of Firms," Working Papers 97050, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  2. Aoki, Masahiko, 2012. "The Five-Phases of Economic Development and Institutional Evolution in China and Japan," ADBI Working Papers 340, Asian Development Bank Institute.
  3. Rosenthal, Jean-Laurent & Wong, R. Bin, 2011. "Before and Beyond Divergence: The Politics of Economic Change in China and Europe," Economics Books, Harvard University Press, number 9780674057913.
  4. Cha, Myung Soo & Kim, Nak Nyeon, 2012. "Korea's first industrial revolution, 1911–1940," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 60-74.
  5. Masahiko Aoki, 2013. "Institutions as cognitive media between strategic interactions and individual beliefs," Chapters, in: Comparative Institutional Analysis, chapter 17, pages 298-312 Edward Elgar.
  6. Herrmann-Pillath, Carsten, 2009. "Social capital, Chinese style: individualism, relational collectivism and the cultural embeddedness of the institutions-performance link," Frankfurt School - Working Paper Series 132, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.
  7. Fumio Hayashi & Edward C. Prescott, 2008. "The Depressing Effect of Agricultural Institutions on the Prewar Japanese Economy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(4), pages 573-632, 08.
  8. Ma, Debin, 2012. "Political Institution and Long Run Economic Trajectory: Some Lessons from Two Millennia of Chinese Civilization," CEPR Discussion Papers 8791, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Aoki, Masahiko, 2010. "Corporations in Evolving Diversity: Cognition, Governance, and Institutions," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199218530.
  10. Ho, Jun Seong & Lewis, James B. & Han-Rog, Kang, 2008. "Korean Expansion and Decline from the Seventeenth to the Nineteenth Century: A View Suggested by Adam Smith," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 68(01), pages 244-282, March.
  11. Masahiko Aoki & Geoffrey Rothwell, 2013. "A comparative institutional analysis of the Fukushima nuclear disaster: Lessons and policy implications," Chapters, in: Comparative Institutional Analysis, chapter 8, pages 105-132 Edward Elgar.
  12. Allen,Robert C., 2009. "The British Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521868273.
  13. Oded Galor, 2011. "Unified Growth Theory and Comparative Development," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, issue 2, pages 9-21, April-Jun.
  14. Monderer, Dov & Shapley, Lloyd S., 1996. "Potential Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 124-143, May.
  15. Zelin, Madeleine, 2009. "The firm in early Modern China," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 623-637, September.
  16. Oded Galor, 2005. "Unified Growth Theory," Development and Comp Systems 0504001, EconWPA.
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