A tale of two SICs: industrial development in Japan and the United States in the late nineteenth century
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Late developing countries are able to adopt best practice technologies pioneered abroad, allowing more rapid convergence toward leading economies. Meiji Japan (1868-1912) is considered a successful example of industrial convergence, but much of the evidence relies on national aggregates or selected industries.
Using historical industry data, this paper examines whether Japan adopted new technologies faster compared to the United States. Contrary to conventional wisdom, duration analysis indicates that new sectors did not appear relatively sooner in Japan; however, they did grow to economic significance faster. Higher firm capitalisation and capital intensity are also found to be associated with earlier entry for Japanese sectors.
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