a1 Research Professor, Academy of Korean Studies, 50 Unjung-dong, Pundang-gu, Sŏngnam-shi, Kyŏnggi-do, Korea 463-791. E-mail: email@example.com.
a2 University Lecturer in Korean History, Oriental Institute, Pusey Lane, Oxford OX1 2LE, United Kingdom. E-mail: Jay.Lewis@orinst.ox.ac.uk.
a3 D.Phil. Candidate in Oriental Studies, Wolfson College, Oxford Univesity, Oxford OX2 6UD, United Kingdom. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first price runs for Korean rice help us develop a Smithian physiocratic model to explain the low, stable prices of the eighteenth century and the rising, volatile prices of the nineteenth. Ownership rights provided incentives, and productivity after 1600 exceeded subsistence to achieve rural commercialization. Infrastructure investment from the late seventeenth century promoted development and prosperity, but declining investment, dysfunctional institutions, bad weather, and a population crash pushed the economy towards subsistence in the nineteenth. Decline saw rice monoculture, inflation, and price volatility even before imperialism's impact. Parallels with China suggest an “East Asian” premodern agricultural model.
Various incarnations of this article were presented at the Thirteenth Congress of the International Economic History Association in Buenos Aires, at the Fourteenth Congress of the International Economic History at Helsinki, at the Eleventh Annual International Conference of the World History Association jointly held with the Fiftieth Annual Conference of the Korea Historical Association in Seoul, and at the Twenty-Second Conference of the Association for Korean Studies in Europe in Sheffield. We are grateful to the discussants and participants for their comments, and in particular to Peter Lindert and Jan Luiten van Zanden. We have benefited greatly by being part of the team working on “A Global History of Prices and Wages,” sponsored by the U.S. National Science Foundation. Dr. Anders Karlsson and Dr. Owen Miller of the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London and Dr. Mark Metzler of Oakland University contributed valuable comments and criticisms. We thank the Korea Research Foundation for supporting Jun Seong Ho (KRF-2005-358-A 0006) and the U.S. National Science Foundation for their support of Jun and Lewis. Finally, we want to thank the anonymous reviewers who challenged us to clarify our arguments for publication.