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Corporate Governance in Transitional Economies: Lessons from the Pre-War Japanese Cotton Textile Industry

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  • Yoshiro Miwa

    (Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.)

  • J. Mark Ramseyer

    (Harvard University)

Abstract

Observers of the formerly communist transitional economies urge firms there to obtain funds from a relatively few sources. They note the institutional problems the firms face: courts not working, markets not developed, statutes not written. Because these firms cannot rely on the courts to discipline managers, they predict that firms will do best if they raise their capital only from a few concentrated sources. Firms in Japan at the close of the 19th century faced a similar "transitional" institutional environment. They too faced disfunctional courts, nascent markets, and non-existent statutes. Yet the firms that succeeded in Japan were not the ones that took the tack proposed by modern observers of transitional economies. They were the ones that used little debt and raised their equity from a large number of investors. In this article, we outline how concentrated finance can introduce problems potentially as severe as the ones it supposedly mitigates, and discuss why dispersed equity did not reduce firm efficiency in late-19th century Japan. Although investors with relatively large stakes can indeed provide a firm value, they do so only under limited conditions -- and we explore what some of those conditions might be.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo in its series CIRJE F-Series with number CIRJE-F-48.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: May 1999
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tky:fseres:99cf48

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Cited by:
  1. Evan Osborne, 2006. "Corruption and Technological Progress: A Takeoff Theory of Good Governance," Atlantic Economic Journal, International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 34(3), pages 289-302, September.
  2. Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Love, Inessa & Maksimovic, Vojislav, 2004. "Business Environment and the Incorporation Decision," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3317, The World Bank.
  3. Yoshiro Miwa & J. Mark Ramseyer, 2004. "Industrial Finance Before the Financial Revolution: Japan at the Turn of the Last Century (Subsequently published in "Explanations in Economic History", 2005, vol. 43, 94-118. )," CARF F-Series CARF-F-018, Center for Advanced Research in Finance, Faculty of Economics, The University of Tokyo.
  4. Yoshiro Miwa & J. Mark Ramseyer, 2000. ""The Fable of the Keiretsu: "Keiretsu" in Keiretsu no Kenkyu"(in Japanese)," CIRJE J-Series CIRJE-J-38, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
  5. Miwa Yoshiro & J. Mark Ramseyer, 2000. "Banks and Economic Growth: Implications from Japanese History," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-87, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
  6. Yoshiro Miwa & J. Mark Ramseyer, 2004. "Industrial Finance Before the Financial Revolution: Japan at the Turn of the Last Century," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-311, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
  7. Peter L. Rousseau & Richard Sylla, 2001. "Financial Systems, Economic Growth, and Globalization," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0119, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  8. Aldo Musacchio, 2010. "Law and Finance c. 1900," NBER Working Papers 16216, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Serguey Braguinsky & Atsushi Ohyama & Tetsuji Okazaki & Chad Syverson, 2014. "Acquisitions, Productivity, and Profitability: Evidence from the Japanese Cotton Spinning Industry," NBER Working Papers 19901, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Miwa, Yoshiro & Ramseyer, J. Mark, 2006. "Japanese industrial finance at the close of the 19th century: Trade credit and financial intermediation," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 94-118, January.
  11. Jayati Sarkar & Subrata Sarkar, 2005. "Multiple Board Appointments and Firm Performance in Emerging Economies : Evidence from India," Microeconomics Working Papers 22394, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  12. Evan Osborne, 2004. "Corruption and Its Alternatives: A Takeoff Theory of Good Governance," ISER Discussion Paper 0604, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
  13. Yoshiro Miwa & J. Mark Ramseyer, 2001. "Property Rights and Indigenous Tradition Among Early 20th Century Japanese Firms," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-104, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
  14. Leslie Hannah, 2007. "The Divorce of Ownership from Control from 1900: Re-calibrating Imagined Global Historical Trends," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-460, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.

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