Spinning Tales About Japanese Cotton Spinning: Saxonhouse (1974) Then and Now

Braguinsky, Serguey; Hounshell, David A.

We revisit the story of technology adoption and diffusion in the Meiji-era cotton spinning industry in Japan, the study of which was pioneered by Gary Saxonhouse in an article published in JEH exactly 40 years ago. Using a novel data set and modern methodology, we argue that both the ease with which the best technology was diffused and the role of “slavish imitation” in this process may have been overstated. We find an important role played by market competition, including asset reallocation. Our analyses provide researchers with even richer insights into general questions of innovation, technology diffusion, and economic growth.



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More About This Work

Academic Units
Center on Japanese Economy and Business
Center on Japanese Economy and Business, Graduate School of Business, Columbia University
Center on Japanese Economy and Business Working Papers, 336
Published Here
February 24, 2014