Modern and Historical Japanese Economy – Does the history of Toyota since before World War II fit with the economic history of Japan and the zaibatsu?
–Topic: This is research paper that should address a question relevant to understanding an aspect of the Japanese economy that we have not covered in detail in class, and should make use of what you have learned in other economics courses (e.g. theory courses, econometrics, economic history). The paper should then seek to answer the question. Previous successful topics include what factors explain changes in female labor force participation, were firms with main banks particularly successful during the 1980’s, do Japanese firms adjust more through wages than employment, does the history of a particular company fit what we have learned about the economy or not, etc. Alternatively, you may want to explore an issue raised in one of the readings or lectures in more depth, but do not just summarize what has been covered in class.
— Double-spaced, about 10 pages (maximum 3,000 words), plus tables/figures (with your sources indicated), footnotes, and a bibliography of sources used. Clarify: 10 pages of text; tables, charts, bibliography are in addition to those 10 pages.
–Due date: Hard copy delivered to me at beginning of the final class session on December 4. Papers arriving after the start of class will receive a penalty of 5 points for every day late. These will cumulate until you receive the minimum of either my evaluation of your paper or a 70.
— Unpleasant Issues: The paper must contain references and footnotes; all quotations must be encapsulated in quotation marks and properly referencedStudents who plagiarize in this course will fail and may face disciplinary action by the University. The format of references does not matter (i.e. I do not care if they conform to the Chicago Manual of Style)—just make sure that enough information is included that I know where the information came from.
— Try to avoid writing a paper that simply describes an industry or a firm or just uses secondary source material to provide a survey of an issue. Description may be necessary to answer the question and a literature survey that explains the importance of the question is essential, but it should not be the main point of the paper.
Some useful sources of data online:
List of links to all ministries
Japan Statistical Yearbook http://www.stat.go.jp/english/data/nenkan/index.htm
Similar to the Statistical Abstract of the United States — a basic statistics source.
For a variety of recent statistics, see the government’s main data center, http://www.stat.go.jp/english/index.htm
Bank of Japan statistics http://www.boj.or.jp/en/
Click on “statistics” in the bar near the top of the page.
National Income statistics are available through the Economic and Social Research Institute of the Cabinet Office.
Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare http://www.mhlw.go.jp/english/
Click on one of the 3 statistics buttons in the bar on the right hand side of the page.
National Institute of Population and Social Security Research http://www.ipss.go.jp/index-e.asp
Has census data and population projections.
Trade statistics (through the Ministry of Finance)
Provides a variety of time series on global, regional, and bilateral trade stats.
Government spending, revenue, and debt statistics go to:
Industrial production and other industry data are available in the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (MRTI)
Labor Force survey data
For comparative statistics you can try the online sites that should be available to you through the library (many series in these sources are available back to 1960):
International Monetary Fund, International Financial Statistics
” , Direction of Trade Statistics
World Bank, World Development Indicators
Printed sources of information:
Most of the links above provide statistics only for the past 10-20 years. For any work of a more historical nature, you will need to use printed statistics volumes in the library. I assume the library has printed volumes of:
Japan Statistical Yearbook
Yearbook of Labor Statistics
If you hunt around, there ought to be additional printed statistical sources in the library.
If you want to pursue a more historical topic, the definitive set of historical statistics is a multi-volume set produced by Hitotsubashi University called:
Estimates of Long-Term Economic Statistics of Japan Since 1868
These volumes should be on reserve at the library.
See the list of “recommended” readings in the syllabus for other secondary sources that might be useful.
Japanese Economic Studies is a quarterly journal of translations of contemporary Japanese scholarship on economy and management, including occasional industry studies.
The Journal of the Japanese and International Economies and Japan and the World Economy are analytically advanced sources of original articles, some of which have been used in NBER conferences.
The Center for the Japanese Economy and Business (CJEB) at Columbia University has an extensive working paper series of over 300 titles on a wide variety of economic topics extending over the past 25 years.
The working paper series of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) has occasional advanced analytical papers on Japan.
A useful newspaper is The Nikkei Weekly, the English-language version of Japan’s excellent economics daily newspaper (but note that that English-language website for the daily version of Nikkei is available only to subscribers). A general newspaper in English is the Japan Times; it is a daily paper available online (http://www.japantimes.co.jp/ ) for free (5 free downloads per month) that includes articles on economics and business (and can be searched). The Economist Intelligence Unit publishes a Country Report on Japan (Quarterly) and a Country Profile for Japan (Annual) that are both useful up-to-date references. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) publishes an annual review of the Japanese economy. The International Monetary Fund publishes an annual report on economic developments in Japan as part of its review of each of its members.
Some examples of topic not covered extensively in course lectures:
Agriculture sector–performance, issues, policies
Role of women in the economy–pay, promotion, etc.
Innovation–policies, outcomes, changes over time
Entrepreneurship — performance, issues, policies, international comparison
Recent changes in main bank system
Statistical analysis of demographic impact on growth (past and future)
Role of former samurai in entrepreneurship in Meiji era.
Performance of specific companies relative to the overall economy (why successful or not)
Comparison of various aspects of the Japanese economy to other countries.
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