Among developing and developed countries, agricultural productivity is an important and decided factor of economic growth. Due to a higher ratio of first-order industries, hence, a stable growth rate of the agricultural productivity represents not only the economic growth of countries but also a raise in income per capita. Supporting the agricultural development depends on expanded areas of land and a coordination with climates. Because lands are a scarce factor in agricultural productive processes, however, given these explicit conditions of the size and the technology in these countries, an expanding of agricultural outputs is restrictive. Hence, the climate stability plays a key role on economic growth.
The economic outputs in agricultural societies highly depend on rainfalls. When the amount of rainfalls is not changing rapidly, the economic outputs will stably grow and then promote an increase in population. In most situations, the growth rate from the agricultural lands is always lower than that from the population, and in turn people would care about their own land property so that more and more disputes from land lawsuits occur in these countries. Therefore, if fluctuations of rainfalls maintain to be more stable, the number of land lawsuits may be decreased.
In the economic literature, there are many extended discussions and researches using rainfalls as an instrument variable or critical factor since (Miguel et al. 2004), which is study the relation between the national economic and the civil conflicts on Sahara area in Africa. The results from their pioneer paper pointed out that the civic conflicts do not be taken place by the residents that work within productive industries with higher returns. The reason is that the opportunity costs or the losses from the civic conflicts are too larger.
With the natural variables as sunshine durations, droughts, and rainfalls, some researches focused on the economic impacts in Africa (Ciccone 2011; Henderson et al. 2012; Hodler and Raschky 2014) and the impacts in nation democracy transformation (Brückner and Ciccone 2011). These researches figured out a fact that the rainfalls variable is a key factor on effects between economic activities, social stability, and degree of national democracy development. For example, Brückner and Ciccone (2011) investigated the political changes in these countries located on Sahara area and found that with the heavy volatility of rainfalls, the policymakers will partly open the political environment in order to the residents can attend and join the parties, and then the degree of democracy will be risen. André and Platteau (1998) studied the fact of Rwandan genocide and indicated that the events of civic wars or race fighting for resources will rise due to the rapidly increased times from extreme climate changes. The authors also pointed out that, in Rwandan, some causal relations between climate changes, legal or illegal land lawsuits, national wars and ethnic massacres are existed. Here, we wonder that rainfalls would effectively work on economic variables at these countries with higher average rainfalls in subtropical or tropical regions.
On the other side, from accompaniments of the development of economic market, trade between the products and the definition of property rights are tending meticulously. Buoye (2000) found out that many land lawsuit disputes and violence incidents actually are caused by a growing development of economic market, which pushes Chinese government pursuing clear land property ownership, when he surveys the China criminal database in 18 centuries.
According to the above arguments, are rainfalls also playing an influential reason in the areas, which are in the beginning of its modern economic development and just germinating concepts of related property? In other words, the disputes of land property are response to the frequency of land lawsuits, which is relative to rainfalls and scarcity of recourses.
This article studies the empirical influences on land property lawsuits in relations to rainfalls, according to the Taiwanese database during the period of Japanese colonial rule (1920–1941). The object of this article focuses on the Taiwanese data because the Taiwanese modern economic activities began in the period of Japanese colonial rule. The pattern of economic development in Taiwan is a transformation from the pure base of agricultural industries to the mixed stage of agricultural and light industries. Mainland China is also under the transformation of modern economy at the same time, but, unfortunately, it lacks a full database for statistics of the lawsuits and focuses on only some specific regions (Xiao et al. 2014). However, Taiwan is located on the subtropical region, and we hope that this article also applies to estimate other influences of rainfalls on different economic patterns in other subtropical regions.