Japan s historical occupational structures
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Japan's Historical Occupational Structures. Osamu Saito and Tokihiko Settsu (Hitotsubashi University) 3 July 2009. INCHOS.

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Japan's Historical Occupational Structures

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Japan s historical occupational structures

Japan's Historical Occupational Structures

Osamu Saito and Tokihiko Settsu

(Hitotsubashi University)

3 July 2009



  • The international network for the comparative history of occupational structure (INCHOS) was launched in late 2007 by Dr Leigh Shaw-Taylor (HPSS, University of Cambridge) and Professor Osamu Saito (Hitotsubashi University).

  • This followed on from a session at IEHA’s Helsinki meeting in 2006 and a very successful workshop on occupational structure hosted by Hi-Stat at Hitotsubashi University in September 2007.

The aim of inchos

The aim of INCHOS

  • To develop a genuinely comparative history of occupational structure by using a common occupational coding system and common methodologies to ensure commensurable results.

  • Our interest is not in a particular period but on the long-run process of industrialization which means that the focus is on different time periods in different countries.

Inchos 2009


  • Conference in Cambridge:

    King’s College, 28-31 July

  • Countries covered:

    England; Belgium; Germany; France;

    The Netherlands; Italy; Spain; Bulgaria;

    Japan; Taiwan; India; Indonesia; Russia;


An initial set of issues

An initial set of issues

  • Coverage: census and pre-census periods

  • Classification problems:

    PST system


    Secondary, including mining


    Problem of ‘labourers’ in early censuses

Con d


  • Female employment

    Pre-census data: e.g. baptismal register

    Censuses: changes in ways in which female and child labour was recorded

  • By-employment


    When principal employment only, industrial and other forms of non-farm employment may be understated


Some broader issues

Some broader issues

  • England’s early modern and modern growth

    Manufacturing employment grew in early modern times more substantially than in the classic industrial revolution

  • Tertiary sector

    England: its growth more striking than that of secondary employment during the classic industrial revolution

    Belgium: a similar growth pattern now emerging from new estimates

Con d1


  • By-employment

    Implications for sectoral labour productivity growth

    Sectoral gaps in earlier phases may well have been smaller than previously thought

  • Institutional factors: India’s caste system

    could be associated with a greater division of labour in the Smithian sense

    but acted as an obstacle to further divisions between intermediate and finished products

Our paper

Our paper

  • Focus on by-employment

    Farm family by-employment widespread in the latter half of the Tokugawa period.

    The pattern could be inverse-U shaped.

  • National income estimates

    When the existence of subsidiary workers is taken into account, to what extent will the existing national income estimates be affected?

  • And patterns of sectoral productivity gaps?

Japan s historical occupational structures

A tentative attempt: with earlier LTES data and coefficients derived from 1879 Yamanashi cross-tabulations











By employment and proportion primary pooled district level data in 1879 and 1925

By-employment and proportion primary: pooled district-level data in 1879 and 1925

Estimates of principal equivalent gainful workers in pst sectors

Estimates of principal-equivalent gainful workers in PST sectors

  • Tertiary: Settsu estimates

  • Secondary:

    Will see if the same model works

    For this sector, net output readily available

  • Primary: as residual

Actual paths in sectoral productivity growth

Actual paths in sectoral productivity growth

  • The initial gaps in labour productivity between ST and P

  • Did the ST-P gaps increase or decline over the entire prewar period?

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