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

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  • Morck, Randall
  • Nakamura, Masao

Abstract

Paul Rosenstein-Rodan argues that economic development requires coordinated investment in many interdependent industries, and prescribes a flood of state-controlled investment across all sectors—a so-called big push. Widespread government failure defeated twentieth-century ‘big push’ schemes. But spillovers across firms and industries, and from public goods, hold-up problems, and capital market limitations are real, and justify coordinated growth across sectors if it can be done without government failures. Large, extensively diversified pyramidal business groups of listed firms dominate the histories of developed economies and the economies of developing economies. Arguing that such groups provided this coordination in prewar Japan after a state-run big push failed, we propose that pyramidal business groups are private-sector mechanisms for coordinating big push growth, and that competition between rival groups induces efficiency unattainable in a state-run big push. We postulate that a successful business-group led big push requires economic openness, basic public goods, rule of law, separation of the state from business, and a timely demise of business groups when the big push phase is complete.Where these criteria are not met, growth stalls and oligarchic families become too powerful to dislodge.

Suggested Citation

  • Morck, Randall & Nakamura, Masao, 2007. "Business Groups and the Big Push: Meiji Japan's Mass Privatization and Subsequent Growth," Enterprise & Society, Cambridge University Press, vol. 8(3), pages 543-601, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:entsoc:v:8:y:2007:i:03:p:543-601_00
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. La Porta, Rafael & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1997. " Legal Determinants of External Finance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(3), pages 1131-1150, July.
    2. Tarun Khanna & Yishay Yafeh, 2005. "Business Groups and Risk Sharing around the World," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(1), pages 301-340, January.
    3. repec:hrv:faseco:30728041 is not listed on IDEAS
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G3 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance
    • N15 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Asia including Middle East
    • N25 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - Asia including Middle East
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance
    • O19 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations
    • O2 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy
    • O21 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Planning Models; Planning Policy
    • O2 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy

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