Redistributive Land Reform and Structural Change in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan

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Redistributive land reforms implemented in post-WWII Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan have often been considered a substantial stimulus for these countries’ subsequent economic growth. Before the reforms, there were a small number of large landlords and many small tenant cultivators, but after the reforms, tenancy effectively disappeared. This article assesses the impact of reforms on structural change and income per capita, and shows that reforms were responsible for at least half of the actual reallocation of labor out of agriculture in each of these countries in the aftermath of the reforms. By contrast, their impact on income per capita was small.

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