Pre-modern Growth, Industrialization and Biological Living Standards of Japan and Korea, 1840-2023
Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences
Join us in person or via Zoom for our upcoming lecture on
Pre-modern Growth, Industrialization and Biological Living Standards of Japan and Korea, 1840-2023 by Duol Kim
Date: Thursday, May 18, 2023
Time: 12 noon
Venue: Lecture Hall, May Hall, HKU campus
Measuring the living standards of pre-modern societies is a crucial subject in economic history. It not only helps us understand the period itself but also sheds light on the origins of industrialization and its impact on human life. Since Kenneth Pomeranz’s seminal work brought attention to this issue, scholars have made various efforts to measure long-term trends in GDP per capita, real wages, and body index, especially in Asian countries. The next step forward based on these foundational studies is to re-examine and reinterpret the juncture of history, investigating how the impact from the West interacted with the indigenous economy and ultimately changed living standards. This can provide new insights into the modernization of current developing countries and the history of Asian countries.
In this Quantitative History Lecture, Duol Kim of Myongji University will discuss his investigation of this problem, using data on the height of Koryo Deceased (=Hangryu Deceased, 行旅死亡者). These are individuals who died on the street or in institutions without any acquaintances claiming the body. He will use this data to explain the changes in biological living standards before and after port opening and modern industrialization, as well as the centennial patterns of Japanese and Korean heights.