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Living Standards of Chinese Opium Smokers in Colonial Singapore

April 1, 2021

Kuala Lumpur Research Seminar Series

  • Studies on opium consumption have thus far not addressed the issue from the economic welfare perspective. This article assembles data from official sources to derive estimates of aggregate opium consumption in Singapore during the early decades of the twentieth century. It shows that an alternative measure of welfare that includes opium in the consumption basket led to a declining standard of living among unskilled labourers who depended on the drug for their work.

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    Presentation Slides

  • Ichiro Sugimoto is a Professor in the Faculty of International Liberal Arts at Soka University, Japan, where he has been a faculty member since 2009. From 2020, he serves as a Vice-Dean. Ichiro completed his M.A and PhD at the University of Malaya and his undergraduate studies at Soka University. His research interests lie in the area of the quantitative economic history of Malaysia and Singapore. Mainly, he focuses on the construction of long-term economic statistics and its empirical investigations.  


  • WHEN (KUALA LUMPUR TIME): Thursday, April 1, 2021 - 9:00 -10:00am
  • WHEN (ET/WASHINGTON, D.C. TIME): Wednesday, March 31, 2021 - 9:00 – 10:00pm