Yuzuru Kumon

Interdisciplinary seminars
History and economics seminar

Yuzuru Kumon

Norwegian School of Economics
The deep roots of inequality

IBD Amphi

Îlot Bernard du Bois - Amphithéâtre

5-9 boulevard Maurice Bourdet
13001 Marseille

Tuesday, October 25 2022| 2:30pm to 4:00pm

Jean Boutier: jean.boutier[at]univ-amu.fr
Alice Fabre: alice.fabre[at]univ-amu.fr
Cecilia Garcia-Peñalosa: cecilia.garcia-penalosa[at]univ-amu.fr
Alain Trannoy: alain.trannoy[at]univ-amu.fr
Arundhati Virmani: arundhati.virmani[at]ehess.fr


This paper uses Japanese village censuses, 1637-1872, to measure inequality in landownership. Surprisingly, inequality was low and stable unlike Europe where it was high and increasing. To explain this, I study inter-generational land transmissions. I find Japanese households adopted male heirs when reproduction failed, thereby keeping lands in the family. In contrast, elite English male lines failed 25\% of the time leading to unequal redistributions of their lands via will or marriage of heiresses. Finally, the institutional differences in adoption had roots in 4th century church policy and this may partially explain why Europe was more unequal by 1800.

Discussion: François Gipouloux (EHESS, CECMC)

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