Economic Growth in Japan: Pre-war

A very interesting thing that I found after studying economic history in Japan is that the research about Japan’s economic growth pre-war (or say in long-run) is to some extent distinguished by language and country borders. The native economic historians in Japan have a long tradition of research agendas and methods, which are not affected so much by western academia (e.g. the cliometric revolution). Thus, in the Japanese written researches, it is not so often to see arguments and citations of foreign scholars who generally sprout their research interest in Japanese economic growth since 1960s. As a foreign student of economic history in Japan, I think it might be interesting and valuable to see the similarities and differences from both sides.

For the foreign side, the list I’d like to read is from Pseudoerasmus:

  • Bassino et al. (2015), “Japan and the Great Divergence, 725-1874”; also see the VoxEU column
  • Morillo (1995), “Guns and Government: A Comparative Study of Europe and Japan”
  • Saito (2005), “Pre-modern economic growth revisited: Japan and the West”
  • Sugihara (2004), “The state and the industrious revolution in Tokugawa Japan”
  • Saito (2010), “An industrious revolution in an East Asian market economy? Tokugawa Japan and implications for the Great Divergence”
  • Koyama, Moriguchi, & Sng (2015), “Geopolitics and Asia’s Little Divergence: A Comparative Analysis of State Building in China and Japan after 1850”
  • Saxonhouse (1991), “Economic Growth and Trade Relations: Japanese Performance in Long-Term Perspective”
  • Tang (2016), “A tale of two SICs: Japanese and American industrialisation in historical perspective”
  • Nicholas (2011), “The origins of Japanese technological modernization”
  • Ma (2004), “Why Japan, Not China, Was the First to Develop in East Asia: Lessons from Sericulture, 1850–1937”
  • Braguinsky & Hounshell (2015), “Spinning Tales about Japanese Cotton Spinning: Saxonhouse (1974) and Lessons from New Data”
  • Tang (2011), “Technological leadership and late development: evidence from Meiji Japan, 1868–1912”
  • Jorgenson & Nomura (2007), “The Industry Origins of the U.S.-Japan Productivity Gap”
  • Fleitas (2016), comment on “Effects of Industrial Policy on Productivity: The case of import quota removal during postwar Japan”



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