RIEB Discussion Paper Series No.2015-09


Property Rights Protection in 18th century Japan Revisited; the Case of Rice Backed Security Exchange Market


If market economy are to work, they need institutions of economic governance. In traditional economics, there seems universal agreement that the framework of contract law provided by the government is a necessary condition for a market economy to work. Recently, the complementary relationship between the law and private ordering come under the spotlight. This paper investigates the process of this complementary relationship emerged in early modern Japan where the Shogunate had absolute power. Until the begging of 18th century, the market order was supported by private ordering. In mid 18th century the Shogunate have began to protect rice merchants' property rights in spited the fact that it had never been forced to do. This process provides us with a good case example to consider the nature of the economic governance.


Property rights protection, Governance, Financial market, Early modern Japan

JEL Classification

N25, E42, E52


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