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Technological Leadership and Late Development: Evidence from Meiji Japan, 1868-1912

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  • John Tang

Abstract

Large family-owned conglomerates known as zaibatsu have long been credited with leading Japanese industrialization during the Meiji Period (1868-1912), despite a lack of empirical analysis. Using a new dataset collected from corporate genealogies estimate of entry probabilities, I find that characteristics associated with zaibatsu increase a firm's likelihood of being an industry pioneer. In particular, first entry probabilities increase with industry diversification and private ownership, which may provide internal financing and risk-sharing, respectively. Nevertheless, the costs of excessive diversification may deter additional pioneering, which may account for the loss of zaibatsu technological leadership by the turn of the century.

Suggested Citation

  • John Tang, 2007. "Technological Leadership and Late Development: Evidence from Meiji Japan, 1868-1912," Working Papers 07-32r, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau, revised May 2010.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:07-32r
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    6. Mitchener, Kris James & Ohnuki, Mari, 2009. "Institutions, Competition, and Capital Market Integration in Japan," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 69(01), pages 138-171, March.
    7. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
    8. Frankl, Jennifer L., 1999. "An Analysis of Japanese Corporate Structure, 1915–1937," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 59(04), pages 997-1015, December.
    9. Randall Morck & Masao Nakamura, 2007. "Business Groups and the Big Push: Meiji Japan's Mass Privatization and Subsequent Growth," NBER Working Papers 13171, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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