RIEB Seminar (Jointly supported by:Kobe-DEEH and Rokko Forum)
Jointly supported by:Kobe-DEEH and Rokko Forum
|Date & Time||Friday, June 28, 2019, 4:00pm-5:30pm|
|Place||Seminar Room at RIEB (Kanematsu Memorial Hall, 1st Floor)|
|Intended Audience||Faculties, Graduate Students Undergraduates and People with Equivalent Knowledge|
- A First Escape from Poverty in Late Medieval Japan: Evidence from Urban Real Wages (1400-1914) (joint with Kyoji Fukao and Masanori Takashima)
- Jean-Pascal BASSINO (Department of Social Sciences, University of Lyon)
- This paper proposes a first investigation of Japanese living standards from the early 15th to the early 20th century for both unskilled and skilled urban workers. We construct new rice price and nominal wages series for the period 1400-1740, link them with existing series starting in the mid-18th century, and calculate the price of 'bare-bone' and 'respectable' consumption baskets for the benchmark years 1550, 1850, and 1905. We find that rice wages were on a steady upward trend between the mid-15th and the mid-16th century, from an extremely low level in the case of unskilled workers. A drastic decline in the skill premium is observed between the 16th and the mid-19th century, but the fall in rice wages of skilled workers was largely offset by changes in relative prices. Unskilled real wages remained stable during the same period. Our interpretation is that the skill diffusion initiated a process leading to a Smithian growth associated with a contraction of income inequalities that accelerated in second half of the Tokugawa period (Saito 2010, 2015).