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Price shocks in regional markets: Japan's great Kantō Earthquake of 1923

Hunter, Janet and Ogasawara, Kota (2018) Price shocks in regional markets: Japan's great Kantō Earthquake of 1923. Economic History Review. ISSN 0013-0117

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Identification Number: 10.1111/ehr.12775


Japan’s Great Kantō Earthquake of September 1st 1923 devastated the area around Tokyo and the country’s main port of Yokohama. This paper uses the earthquake as a case study to inform our understanding of the economics of disasters and the history of market integration. It seeks to test two main assumptions: firstly, that shifting demand and supply curves consequent on a disaster will have some impact on prices; and secondly, that any local changes in the disaster region are likely to be diffused across a wider geographical area. We make use of a unique monthly wholesale price dataset for a number of cities across Japan, and our analysis suggests three main findings: that price changes in the affected areas immediately following the disaster were in most cases reflected in price changes in Japan’s provincial cities; that cities further away from the devastation witnessed smaller price changes than those nearer to the affected area; and that the observed pattern of price changes reflects the regional heterogeneity identified by scholars who have worked on market integration in Japan.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2018 Economic History Society
Divisions: Economic History
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HG Finance
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2018 11:06
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 00:39

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