What We Are Reading Today: Factory Girls by E. Patricia Tsurumi

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Updated 07 July 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Factory Girls by E. Patricia Tsurumi

Investigating the enormous contribution made by female textile workers to early industrialization in Meiji Japan, Patricia Tsurumi vividly documents not only their hardships but also their triumphs. While their skills and long hours created profits for factory owners that in turn benefited the state, the labor of these women and girls enabled their tenant farming families to continue paying high rents in the countryside. 

Tsurumi shows that through their experiences as Japan’s first modern factory workers, these “factory girls” developed an identity that played a crucial role in the history of the Japanese working class. Much of this story is based on records the factory girls themselves left behind, including their songs. “It is a delight to receive a meticulous and comprehensive volume on the plight of women who pioneered (assembly plant) employment in Asia a century ago ….” — L. L. Cornell, The Journal of Asian Studies “Tsurumi writes of these rural women with compassion and treats them as sentient, valuable individuals …. [Many] readers will find these pages informative and thought provoking.” — Sally Ann Hastings, Monumenta Niponica.


What We Are Reading Today: Urban Economics and Fiscal Policy by Holfer Sieg

Updated 06 August 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Urban Economics and Fiscal Policy by Holfer Sieg

With more than half of today’s global GDP being produced by approximately 400 metropolitan centers, learning about the economics of cities is vital to understanding economic prosperity. 

This textbook introduces graduate and upper-division undergraduate students to the field of urban economics and fiscal policy, relying on a modern approach that integrates theoretical and empirical analysis. Based on material that Holger Sieg has taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Urban Economics and Fiscal Policy brings the most recent insights from the field into the classroom.

Divided into short chapters, the book explores fiscal policies that directly shape economic issues in cities, such as city taxes, the provision of quality education, access to affordable housing, and protection from crime and natural hazards. 

For each issue, Sieg offers questions, facts, and background; illuminates how economic theory helps students engage with topics; and presents empirical data that shows how economic ideas play out in daily life. 

Throughout, the book pushes readers to think critically and immediately put what they are learning to use by applying cutting-edge theory to data.

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