Political Economy and Population Growth in Early Modern Japan

28 Pages Posted: 17 Feb 2004

See all articles by Taejong Kim

Taejong Kim

KDI School of Public Policy and Management

Date Written: November 2003

Abstract

During the feudal Edo period (1603-1868) in Japan, the shogunate government relied for regional control on hereditary feudal barons as well as its own bakufu bureaucracy. Compared with hereditary lords, bakufu officials had shorter and uncertain tenure. Examining easily available historical data, the paper finds that regions ruled by bakufu bureaucrats are associated with (a) slower population growth, (b) slower growth in productive capacity, and (c) higher incidences of civil unrest. The evidence supports Mancur Olson's thesis that those with coercive power will be lead by their encompassing interest to provide growth-friendly environment when they are assured of a stable, long-term tenure.

Keywords: Mancur Olson, feudalism, taxation, population, economic growth

JEL Classification: H2, N4, P5

Suggested Citation

Kim, Taejong, Political Economy and Population Growth in Early Modern Japan (November 2003). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=497684 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.497684

Taejong Kim (Contact Author)

KDI School of Public Policy and Management ( email )

P.O. Box 184
Seoul, 130-868
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

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