Japanese Wages and Living Standards in 1720-1913: an International ...

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  Japanese Wages and Living Standards in 1720-1913: an International Comparison  Jean-Pascal Bassino Maison Franco-Japonaise 3-9-25 Ebisu, Shibuya Ku, 150 Tokyo, Japan and Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University 2-1 Naka Kunitachi, 186 Tokyo, Japan E-mail: bassino@mfj.gr.jp   Debin Ma (Corresponding author)  GRIPS/FASID Joint Graduate Program 2-2 Wakamatsu-cho, Shinjuku-ku Tokyo, 162-8677 Japan Email: debinma@grips.ac.jp  First Draft, August 2004 prepared for the Conference Towards a Global History of Prices and Wages  Utrecht, Holland - August 19-21, 2004   Abstract:  This paper calculates welfare ratios for unskilled daily labors for Japan in 1720-1913 and compares with the European series for the same period. Our finding, based on the reconstruction of actual consumption baskets, the price data for two benchmark periods, 1750 and 1884, and linked by real wage index, shows that real purchasing power for Japanese unskilled laborers in Kyoto and later Tokyo in this period were about a third of the level in London, but comparable to Southern European cities.  * We want to thank Osamu Saito, Jan Luiten van Zanden for encouragement and advice. We remain solely responsible for the errors.