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Business Groups and the Big Push: Meiji Japan's Mass Privatization and Subsequent Growth

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  • Randall Morck
  • Masao Nakamura

Abstract

Rosenstein-Rodan (1943) and others posit that rapid development requires a 'big push' -- the coordinated rapid growth of diverse complementary industries, and suggests a role for government in providing such coordination. We argue that Japan's zaibatsu, or pyramidal business groups, provided this coordination after the Meiji government failed at the task. We propose that pyramidal business groups are private sector mechanisms for coordinating and financing 'big push' growth, and that unique historical circumstances aided their success in prewar Japan. Specifically, Japan uniquely marginalized its feudal elite; withdrew its hand with a propitious mass privatization that rallied the private sector; marginalized an otherwise entrenched first generation of wealthy industrialists; and remained open to foreign trade and capital.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13171.

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Date of creation: Jun 2007
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13171

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Cited by:
  1. Langlois, Richard N., 2013. "Business groups and the natural state," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 14-26.
  2. Randall Morck, 2011. "Finance and Governance in Developing Economies," NBER Working Papers 16870, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Randall Morck, 2009. "The Riddle of the Great Pyramids," NBER Working Papers 14858, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Randall Morck & M. Deniz Yavuz & Bernard Yeung, 2009. "Banking System Control, Capital Allocation, and Economy Performance," NBER Working Papers 15575, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Randall Morck & Bernard Yeung, 2009. "Never Waste a Good Crisis: An Historical Perspective on Comparative Corporate Governance," NBER Working Papers 15042, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Joseph Fan & Randall Morck & Bernard Yeung, 2011. "Capitalizing China," NBER Working Papers 17687, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Joseph P. H. Fan & Randall Morck & Bernard Yeung, 2011. "Translating Market Socialism with Chinese Characteristics into Sustained Prosperity," NBER Chapters, in: Capitalizing China, pages 1-32 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Claessens, Stijn & Yurtoglu, B. Burcin, 2013. "Corporate governance in emerging markets: A survey," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 15(C), pages 1-33.
  9. Cristopher Spencer & Paul Temple, 2013. "Standards, Learning and Growth in Britain 1901-2009," School of Economics Discussion Papers 0613, School of Economics, University of Surrey.
  10. Khanna, Tarun & Thomas, Catherine, 2009. "Synchronicity and firm interlocks in an emerging market," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(2), pages 182-204, May.

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