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Distribution Keiretsu, Foreign Direct Investment, and Import Penetration in Japan

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  • DAVID FLATH

Abstract

Directed marketing channels--known in Japan as distribution keiretsu--are more likely than others to be headed by a primary wholesaler that is vertically integrated with the manufacturer, which for foreign manufacturers entails their directly investing in Japan-based wholesale subsidiaries. I support this statement with empirical evidence and theoretical reasoning. Briefly stated, vertical integration better aligns the noncontractible wholesaler effort levels with the manufacturer's profit, but necessarily forgoes the inherent advantage of an independent wholesaler at market-widening efforts. This establishes a trade-off bearing on the decision to vertically integrate. Where market-widening efforts complicate the resolution of retail externalities, it can be better to forgo market-widening efforts altogether and instead focus exclusively on resolving the externalities, vertically integrating with the wholesaler in order to better administer a distribution keiretsu.

Suggested Citation

  • David Flath, 2005. "Distribution Keiretsu, Foreign Direct Investment, and Import Penetration in Japan," Japanese Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(2), pages 26-53.
  • Handle: RePEc:mes:jpneco:v:33:y:2005:i:2:p:26-53
    DOI: 10.1080/2329194X.2005.11045214
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