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

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  • Randall Morck
  • Masao Nakamura

Abstract

Rosenstein-Rodan (1943) and others posit that rapid development requires a 'big push' -- the coordinated rapid growth of diverse complementary industries, and suggests a role for government in providing such coordination. We argue that Japan's zaibatsu, or pyramidal business groups, provided this coordination after the Meiji government failed at the task. We propose that pyramidal business groups are private sector mechanisms for coordinating and financing 'big push' growth, and that unique historical circumstances aided their success in prewar Japan. Specifically, Japan uniquely marginalized its feudal elite; withdrew its hand with a propitious mass privatization that rallied the private sector; marginalized an otherwise entrenched first generation of wealthy industrialists; and remained open to foreign trade and capital.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13171
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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. repec:hrv:faseco:30728041 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    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
    • O25 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Industrial Policy
    • O38 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Government Policy
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East
    • P1 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems
    • P11 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Planning, Coordination, and Reform
    • P12 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Capitalist Enterprises

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