Discussion Paper Series 2019-E-7

Interpolation of Japan's Household Consumption during World War II

Ryoji Koike

This paper reconstructs a comparable series of Japan's household consumption in the 1940s, using historical records about household outlays and black-market transactions, and interpolating missing values in the existing statistics. Specifically, nominal outlays of urban and farm households are estimated, and then converted into real outlays by effective price indexes containing black-market transactions. Household outlay per capita is then computed by taking the average of urban and farm household outlays using population shares as weights. Real outlay in 1945 is estimated at a little less than 50 percent compared to that in 1940, although statistics are missing for 1945. Even considering alternative estimates using other records, real outlay in 1945 is a little more than 50 percent compared to that in 1940. Thus, it is concluded that Japan's household consumption in 1945 declined to the level in 1875-1880.

Keywords: Household survey; Black-market prices; Effective prices; In-kind outlay; World War II

Views expressed in the paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Bank of Japan or Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies.

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