Entrepreneurship and Japanese Industrialization in Historical Perspective
Studies of entrepreneurship in nineteenth century Japan typically focus on the activities of leading industrialists who founded large, family-owned conglomerates known as zaibatsu. These individuals do not conform well with the archetypal Schumpeterian entrepreneur, but this discrepancy may be more an issue of context than behavior. However, due to a lack of documentation for smaller independent firms, it is difficult to make this comparison. To broaden the scope of analysis, I use data drawn from corporate genealogies, which provide a more complete cross-section of entrepreneurial activity. This dataset of firm entry during the Meiji Period (1868-1912) covers a wide range of industries, allowing me to analyze aspects of Japan's early industrialization that heretofore have relied on anecdotal or case evidence. I also propose a game-theoretic model of entry appropriate for entrepreneurs in late developing economies that exploit the qualitative nature of these data.
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