【Brownbag】Social Network and Industrial Policy: Japan's Camphor Monopoly in Colonial Taiwan

  • 研討會日期 : 2023-08-04
  • 時間 : 12:10
  • 主講人 : Professor Yi-Fan Chen (陳奕帆)
  • 地點 : Conference Room B110
  • 演講者簡介 : Professor Yi-Fan Chen received his PhD in Economics from National Taiwan University. He is currently an Assistant Professor at the National University of Kaohsiung. His research interests are international trade, industrial organization, and applied game theory.
  • 演講摘要 : This paper studies how Japan's Camphor Monopoly System and businessmen-official connection interplay to shape firm-level productivities in Taiwan's crude camphor industry. Using the camphor permission data retrieved from Yearbook of Taiwan Government-General Monopoly Bureau (臺灣総督府専売事業年報), we estimate establishment-level productivity by exploiting variations in the adjustments of production quota given to the permitted firms. Our estimation provides evidence that the Camphor Monopoly System is winner-picking by design as the Monopoly Bureau tends to kick unproductive firms out from the system. We also find that establishments owned by local Taiwanese businessmen tend to be more productive in terms of input while receiving fewer compensation from the Monopoly Bureau, which suggests the potential importance of businessmen-official connectivity on the Monopoly Bureau's treatments to firms. We construct the businessmen-official network by scrapping through the Taiwan Daily News (台湾日日新報) data archive, then we aggregate up the network to obtain firm-level connectivities, and estimate its effect on the amount of compensation received from the Monopoly Bureau. We find that the social network that we constructed is indeed centered around high officials in Taiwan Government-General, wherein these officials are well-connected with the Japanese Zaibatsu participating in the Camphor Monopoly System. In contrast, the local businessmen in the system are connected to the officials indirectly through local Taiwanese gentries cooperating with the government. We evaluate how such a firm-official connectivity interplay with firm-level productivity potential in affecting firms' decisions on productivity improvement, the Monopoly Bureau's decision of granting production permissions, and government income from camphor monopoly by simulating a theoretical model based on our estimates to firm-level productivities and connectivities.
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