The Effects of the Unequal Treaties on Normative, Economic and Institutional Changes in 19th Century Japan

The University of Nottingham Research Paper No. 2011/19

21 Pages Posted: 29 Nov 2011

See all articles by Daniel M. Bernhofen

Daniel M. Bernhofen

American University - School of International Service; American University; American University - School of International Service

Toshihiro Atsumi

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: November 29, 2011

Abstract

Japan's mid 19th century transition from 200 years of self-imposed autarky to open trade is the main success story of East Asian integration into the world economy during the first wave of globalization (1850-1914). This article reviews the economic, institutional and normative changes within Japan that were triggered by the unequal treaties following Admiral Perry's arrival in 1853. These changes were instrumental for Japan's industrial success and catching up with the western powers on economic and military terms by the eve of World War I. We argue that Japan provides an interesting case study of a nation which was able to overcome, what economist Paul Romer has called 'idea gaps' (lack of ideas to produce economic value) and 'object gaps' (lack of factories, physical infrastructure) in the economic development process.

Keywords: economic and institutional changes in 19th century Japan, unequal treaties

JEL Classification: F02, F55, 010, N10, N95

Suggested Citation

Bernhofen, Daniel M. and Atsumi, Toshihiro, The Effects of the Unequal Treaties on Normative, Economic and Institutional Changes in 19th Century Japan (November 29, 2011). The University of Nottingham Research Paper No. 2011/19, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1966051 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1966051

Daniel M. Bernhofen (Contact Author)

American University - School of International Service ( email )

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American University ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://www.american.edu/sis/faculty/dbernhof.cfm

American University - School of International Service ( email )

4400 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20016
United States
2028856721 (Phone)

Toshihiro Atsumi

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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