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Technological leadership and late development: evidence from Meiji Japan, 1868–1912

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  • JOHN P. TANG

Abstract

Large family-owned conglomerates known as zaibatsu have long been credited with leading Japanese industrialization during the Meiji period (1868–1912), despite a lack of empirical analysis. Using a new dataset collected from corporate genealogies to estimate entry probabilities, it is found that characteristics associated with zaibatsu increase a firm's likelihood of being an industry pioneer. In particular, first entry probabilities increase with industry diversification and private ownership, which may provide internal financing and risk‐sharing, respectively. Nevertheless, the costs of excessive diversification may deter additional pioneering, which may account for the loss of zaibatsu technological leadership by the turn of the century.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1468-0289.2009.00530.x
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Economic History Society in its journal The Economic History Review.

Volume (Year): 64 (2011)
Issue (Month): s1 (February)
Pages: 99-116

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Handle: RePEc:bla:ehsrev:v:64:y:2011:i:s1:p:99-116

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Cited by:
  1. John Tang, 2013. "Railroad expansion and entrepreneurship: evidence from Meiji Japan," CEH Discussion Papers 011, Centre for Economic History, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.

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