Railroads, Technology Adoption, and Modern Economic Development: Evidence from Japan

89 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2019

Date Written: August 4, 2019

Abstract

Railroad access may accelerate technological progress in the industrial sector and induce structural change and urbanization - the two common features of modern economic development. By digitizing novel datasets of factories and railroad networks in late 19th- and early 20th-century Japan and using the cost-minimizing path between prioritized destinations as an instrument, I find that the distance from railroads in 1892 accounts for 38 percent of the growth in steam power adopted by factories from 1888 to 1902. I also find that proximity to railroads induced a structural change and changed the population dynamics. The results also support the view that railroad network construction was key to modern economic development in pre-First World War Japan.

Keywords: Railroads, Technology Adoption, Modern Economic Development

JEL Classification: N65, N75, O14, O18, O33

Suggested Citation

Yamasaki, Junichi, Railroads, Technology Adoption, and Modern Economic Development: Evidence from Japan (August 4, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3432796 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3432796

Junichi Yamasaki (Contact Author)

Kobe University ( email )

2-1, Rokkodai
Nada-Ku
Kobe, Hyogo, 657-8501
Japan

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