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Asian Historical National Accounts: Issues and Agenda Debin Ma Economic History Department, London School of Economics Nov. 2010 A presentation prepared.

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Presentation on theme: "Asian Historical National Accounts: Issues and Agenda Debin Ma Economic History Department, London School of Economics Nov. 2010 A presentation prepared."— Presentation transcript:

1 Asian Historical National Accounts: Issues and Agenda Debin Ma Economic History Department, London School of Economics Nov A presentation prepared for the Maddison Memorial Conference

2 The Objectives of this presentation This presentation offers a (rather superficial) survey of ongoing research on Asian Historical Accounts around the world. But Asia is vast, even a superficial survey is beyond the expertise of any individual (except the late Angus Maddison). I will focus mostly on East and Southeast Asia, deferring to other conference participants on South Asia (Tirthankar Roy, Steve Broadberry, Alan Heston) and West Asia (Sevket Pamuk) and others. But even for East and Southeast Asia, my presentation refers to the works of other conference participants who are more directly involved in the research.

3 Structure of Presentation Introduction of ongoing research on Asian Historical Accounts for individual countries. The Construction of Purchasing Power Parity Estimates for different benchmark periods.

4 Historical National Accounts for Japan I start with Japan which has the most fully developed national accounts research in all of East Asia, with national accounts annual series running continuously from 1885 (possibly even earlier) in continuous series. There has been new and ongoing research in improving and refining the estimates. The new exciting research I am aware of are not so much in revising the aggregate GDP estimates as in extending to new areas of research.

5 Two new studies on pre-War Japan An example is the recent work done by Bassino, Fukao, Paprzycki, Settsu and Yuan provided new on estimates of prefecture-level value added GDP for five benchmark years from 1890 to Their research show much smaller prefectural inequality in pre-War period and hence revising the preceding studies of a large regional inequality in pre-War Japan. The other work by Saito and Settsu revised the labor force estimates in agriculture, industry and services sector based on new micro-studies of occupational structures. The reallocation of labor forces across different sectors led to new estimates of labor productivity differentials in these three sectors particularly in Japans earlier stage of developments. Both of these papers are presented in the recent Asian Historical Economics Conference held in Beijing at New work extending Japanese GDP series to pre-Meiji?

6 Historical National Accounts on Taiwan and Korea Thanks to the Japanese colonial statistics, the Hitotsubashi group has been the pioneer and leaders in historical national accounts on pre-War Taiwan and Korea. The volume edited by Mizoguchi and Umemura (1988), Basic Economic Statistics of Former Japanese Colonies 1895–1938, represents a landmark in this research. Recently, a new volume by Mizoguchi (2008) provided a more comprehensive national accounts statistics for Taiwan for For Korea, research by Kim Nak Nyeon et al connected with Naksungdae Institute of Economic Research within Korea have produced some excellent work on colonial national accounts. Their major findings of much slower population growth rate than the original Mizoguchi and Umemura estimates revises upward the per capita GDP growth rates during colonial Korea. These databases and explanatory notes have already appeared as a GGDC Research Memorandum GD-107 by Jan-Pieter Smits, Pieter Woltjer and in spreadsheet form.

7 Pre-Communist China still remains the biggest problem Here we really have a cluster of estimates for the 1930s. There is an estimate for the late 1940s by Ou Baoshan et al that should be given more attention. The estimates for the 1910s relied heavily on backward projection from the 1930s. The 1890s estimate originally by Zhang Zhongli is probably valuable but needs to be scrutinized more carefully.

8 Pre-Communist Chinese statistics: the way forward The Hitotsubashi Group will produce a China volume, which we hope to be a step forward. There are some regional GDP estimates: –my 2008 JEH paper covers two provinces in Lower Yangzi in the 1930s, new work by Li Bozhong covers two Lower Yangzi counties in the 1820s. –Manchuria (or Northeast China) GDP data available for The introduction of Maddisons work into China (thanks largely to Harry Wus efforts) has generated new research efforts within China. That is very good news. –Guan and Li have attempted long-term GDP series for Song and Ming China. –I am aware of another two scholars undertaking research on early 19 th century China. –More collaboration and support from outside China will be helpful to bring up the standard of research in this case.

9 Historical Accounts on Southeast Asia If the work headed by Jean-Pascal Bassino on colonial Vietnam comes out, it will be a significant step forward. Let us hope that works out. I assume we count on our Dutch colleagues for works on Indonesia (Jan Luiten van Zanden, Pierre van der Eng and Daan Marks). New research on British Malaya: –Raja Nazarin (2000, 2002, 2006, 20??): an expenditure approach to Malaysian GDP for the colonial period. –TIN HTOO NAING (2010): production approach to Malaysian GDP ( ) – Ichiro Sugimoto: an expenditure approach for Singapore. New research: Thailand, Burma?? We should discuss about South Asia, Central and West Asia.

10 II. Constructing Purchasing Power Parity for pre- War Asia We all know exchange rate conversion have problems when comparing GDP across countries. But backward projection from later benchmark GDP estimate also has its problems. Constructing purchasing power parity estimates for pre-War Asia is a big challenge.

11 Fukao, Ma and Yuan (2007) show discrepancy between current price PPP estimate and back-projected estimate

12 Fukao et al (2007): a list of current price PPP estimate for East Asia

13 1930s Benchmark PPP reconstruction? Yuan, Fukao and Wu (2010) reconstruction production side PPP for US, Japan, Korea and China. The above work complements the expenditure PPP but could also connect with current research for US and Western European (Herman de Jong et al). A 1930s benchmark is viable as data for price, consumption and other information for East and Southeast Asia were far more abundant and reliable. For Southeast Asia: earlier work by Bassino and van der Eng, Economic Divergence in East Asia: New Benchmark Estimates of Levels of Wages and GDP, 1913–1970 is another example. Possible extensions to 1910s and 1950s.

14 Other current price benchmark estimates (usually based on much limited set of price information) Allen et al (2011) and Allen (2009) for Europe and China in the 18 th century. Li and van Zanden (2010) for 1820s China. Van zanden (2003) for Dutch and Indonesia. And so on…

15 Two concluding questions? What about the rest of Asia or the large developing world? How do we link with the post-WWII period?

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