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Nature, markets and state response: the drought of 1939 in Japan and Korea

Hunter, Janet (2010) Nature, markets and state response: the drought of 1939 in Japan and Korea. Australian Economic History Review, 50 (1). pp. 80-98. ISSN 0004-8992

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Identification Number: 10.1111/j.1467-8446.2009.00273.x


Large areas of Northeast Asia experienced drought in 1939. Agricultural production in Korea decreased significantly, but the drought did not cause famine in Japan despite its dependence on rice imports from Korea. The paper analyses the impact of the 1939 drought on the markets for rice and electricity in Japan. The authorities were ill-prepared for such a disaster but willing to use it for the purpose of covering for other problems. The drought thus accelerated the move of Japan's economic system towards a managed economy. A lower total rainfall in Japan in 1940 did not generate similar problems, suggesting that the broader political, economic, and social context is crucial to the identification of short-term climatic fluctuations as crises.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2010 The Author
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DS Asia
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
Sets: Departments > Economic History
Research centres and groups > Asia Research Centre
Research centres and groups > Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines (STICERD)
Collections > Economists Online
Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2011 16:26
Last Modified: 18 May 2011 09:52

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