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Human capital, cluster formation, and international relocation: the case of the garment industry in Japan, 1968--98


  • Eiji Yamamura
  • Tetsushi Sonobe
  • Keijiro Otsuka


This article examines the changing roles of human capital in the process of the formation of industrial clusters, changes in marketing channels, and the relocation of the industrial base to less developed areas and abroad, based on a case study of a garment cluster in postwar Japan. We found, among other things, that experience as local traders played a major role in the cluster formation. However, formal schooling assumes greater importance in later stages, when direct transactions with large customers replaced transactions with local merchants, and the international relocation of the production base became a major management issue. Copyright 2003, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Eiji Yamamura & Tetsushi Sonobe & Keijiro Otsuka, 2003. "Human capital, cluster formation, and international relocation: the case of the garment industry in Japan, 1968--98," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(1), pages 37-56, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jecgeo:v:3:y:2003:i:1:p:37-56

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Michael H Grote & Florian A Täube, 2006. "Offshoring the Financial Services Industry: Implications for the Evolution of Indian IT Clusters," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 38(7), pages 1287-1305, July.
    2. Plutarchos Sakellaris & Daniel J. Wilson, 2004. "Quantifying Embodied Technological Change," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 7(1), pages 1-26, January.
    3. Pennings, Enrico & Sleuwaegen, Leo, 2000. "International relocation: firm and industry determinants," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 179-186, May.
    4. Eric Rugraff, 2010. "Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and Supplier-Oriented Upgrading in the Czech Motor Vehicle Industry," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(5), pages 627-638.
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    Cited by:

    1. Claudia Werker & Suma Athreye, 2004. "Marshall’s disciples: knowledge and innovation driving regional economic development and growth," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 14(5), pages 505-523, December.
    2. Fleisher, Belton & Hu, Dinghuan & McGuire, William & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2010. "The evolution of an industrial cluster in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 456-469, September.
    3. Keijiro Otsuka, 2006. "Cluster-Based Industrial Development: A View From East Asia," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 57(3), pages 361-376.
    4. Gabriel R. G. Benito, 2005. "Divestment and international business strategy," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(2), pages 235-251, April.
    5. Jianqing Ruan & Xiaobo Zhang, 2009. "Finance and Cluster-Based Industrial Development in China," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58(1), pages 143-164, October.
    6. Babur Wasim Arif & Tetsushi Sonobe, 2012. "Virtual Incubation in Industrial Clusters: A Case Study in Pakistan," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(3), pages 377-392, March.
    7. Khondoker Abdul Mottaleb & Kaliappa P. Kalirajan, 2014. "Determinants Of Labor-Intensive Exports By The Developing Countries: A Cross Country Analysis," The Singapore Economic Review (SER), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 59(05), pages 1-22.
    8. H.M. Nihal Padmasiri, 2012. "The role of human and social capital on the development of wooden furniture clusters in Sri Lanka," International Journal of Development Issues, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 11(1), pages 19-36, April.
    9. H.M. Nihal Padmasiri, 2011. "The Role of Human Capital in the Development Process of Industrial Clusters: Evidence from Metalworking Clusters in Sri Lanka," Economic Papers, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 30(1), pages 109-117, March.
    10. Huang, Zuhui & Zhang, Xiaobo & Zhu, Yunwei, 2006. "The Formation of Wenzhou Footwear Clusters: How Were the Entry Barriers Overcome?," 2006 Annual Meeting, August 12-18, 2006, Queensland, Australia 25371, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    11. Tsuchiya, Ryuichiro, 2006. "The Role of the Manager's Education in Firm Growth: An Empirical Analysis in the Taiwanese Manufacturing Sector," Discussion Papers 2006-18, Graduate School of Economics, Hitotsubashi University.
    12. Yamamura, Eiji, 2011. "The role of social trust in reducing long-term truancy and forming human capital in Japan," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 380-389, April.
    13. Sonobe, Tetsushi & Hu, Dinghuan & Otsuka, Keijiro, 2004. "From inferior to superior products: an inquiry into the Wenzhou model of industrial development in China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 542-563, September.
    14. Kimura, Yuichi, 2011. "Knowledge Diffusion and Modernization of Rural Industrial Clusters: A Paper-manufacturing Village in Northern Vietnam," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(12), pages 2105-2118.
    15. Ruan, Jianqing & Wei, Longbao & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2006. "Clustering as a Way to Lower Capital Barriers: The Case of the Cashmere Sweater Cluster in Zhejiang," 2006 Annual Meeting, August 12-18, 2006, Queensland, Australia 25280, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    16. Peng-Fei Li & Harald Bathelt & Jici Wang, 2012. "Network dynamics and cluster evolution: changing trajectories of the aluminium extrusion industry in Dali, China," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(1), pages 127-155, January.
    17. Scott, Allen J., 2006. "The Changing Global Geography of Low-Technology, Labor-Intensive Industry: Clothing, Footwear, and Furniture," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(9), pages 1517-1536, September.
    18. John E. Akoten & Keijiro Otsuka, 2007. "From Tailors to Mini-Manufacturers: The Role of Traders in the Performance of Garment Enterprises in Kenya," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 16(4), pages 564-595, August.
    19. Tetsushi Sonobe & Keijiro Otsuka, 2006. "The Division of Labor and the Formation of Industrial Clusters in Taiwan," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(1), pages 71-86, February.

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