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Pre-modern economic growth revisited: Japan and the West

Saito, Osamu (2005) Pre-modern economic growth revisited: Japan and the West. Working Papers of the Global Economic History Network (GEHN) (16/05). Department of Economic History, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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In early modern north-western Europe, real wages declined while GDP per capita was on the increase. In contrast, wage growth in Tokugawa Japan went hand in hand with output growth. Based on this finding, the paper revisits Thomas Smith’s thesis on ‘Pre-modern Economic Growth: Japan and the West’. It is suggested that the common denominator found in both European and Japanese cases was market-led, ‘Smithian growth’. However, unlike north-western Europe, there was no room for mercantile or agricultural capitalism playing a part. Also, Tokugawa growth was not associated with increased income inequality. All this accounted for the slower pace of growth and the absence of any gap between real wage growth and per-capita GDP growth in Japan's pre-modern economic regime.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2005 The Author
Divisions: Economic History
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D901 Europe (General)
D History General and Old World > DS Asia
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D204 Modern History
Date Deposited: 04 Feb 2009 11:51
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 11:36

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