Seminar - Crawford Award winner 2012, Railroad expansion and entrepreneurship: Evidence from Meiji Japan

Railroads in Meiji Japan are credited with facilitating factor mobility as well as access to human and financial capital, but the impact on firm activity is unclear. In this seminar, Dr John Tang will assesse the effect of railroad access on startup activity across Japanese prefectures by using a newly developed firm-level dataset and a difference-in-differences model that exploits the temporal and spatial variation of railroad expansion. Results indicate that railroad expansion corresponded with increased firm activity, particularly in manufacturing, although this effect is mitigated in less populous regions. These findings are consistent with industrial agglomeration in areas with larger markets and earlier development among both new and existing establishments.

John Tang is a lecturer at the Research School of Economics, at ANU College of Business and Economics. He obtained a PhD in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley. Dr Tang’s main research interests include economic history, economic growth, international economics, applied microeconomics and environment economics. He has published with journals including Economic History Review and Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy. He is the primary investigator for the research project ‘Understanding industrialisation, entrepreneurship, and technology adoption in emerging economies: New evidence from historical Japanese firms’ with grant from the Australian Research Council.

This seminar is presented by the Australia-Japan Research Centre at Crawford School of Public Policy at The Australian National University.

The Crawford Award is presented to the author of an unpublished research paper seen by the Selection Panel as making a substantial and original contribution to scholarship on Japan or on Australia-Japan relations.

Light lunch available beforehand.

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