Implicit Contracts, the Great Depression, and Institutional Change: A Comparative Analysis of U.S. and Japanese Employment Relations, 1920-1940
This paper employs a game-theoretic framework and a comparative historical analysis to study the impact of the Great Depression on corporate welfarism,' i.e., employers' voluntary provisions of non-wage benefits, greater employment security, and employee representation to their blue-collar workers. By characterizing corporate welfarism as an implicit contract equilibrium, the paper documents parallel institutional developments in the U.S. and Japan towards corporate welfarism during the 1920s and identifies the early 1930s as a bifurcation point at which the two trajectories began to diverge toward two distinctive equilibria. In the U.S., the repudiation of the implicit contracts by most leading firms induced by a deep depression caused a change in the expectations of workers and the public, which, in turn, supported a legal reform and the adoption of explicit employment contracts based on industrial unions and third-party enforcement. Experiencing a less severe depression, most major employers in Japan maintained their implicit contracts, while developing institutional arrangements to mitigate the cost of long-term commitment. In contrast to the U.S., labor laws in Japan developed complementary to private welfare practices, endorsing corporate welfarism based on implicit contracts and internal enforcement mechanisms.
|Date of creation:||Mar 2003|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as Moriguchi, Chiaki. "Implicit Contracts, The Great Depression, And Institutional Change: A Comparative Analysis Of U.S. And Japanese Employment Relations, 1920-1940," Journal of Economic History, 2003, v63(3,Sep), 625-665.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Price V. Fishback & Shawn Everett Kantor, 1995.
"Did Workers Pay for the Passage of Workers' Compensation Laws?,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 713-742.
- Price V. Fishback & Shawn Everett Kantor, 1994. "Did Workers Pay for the Passage of Workers' Compensation Laws?," NBER Working Papers 4947, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
- Greif, Avner, 1993. "Contract Enforceability and Economic Institutions in Early Trade: the Maghribi Traders' Coalition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 525-48, June.
- Kanemoto, Yoshitsugu & Bentley MacLeod, W., 1989.
"Optimal labor contracts with non-contractible human capital,"
Journal of the Japanese and International Economies,
Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 385-402, December.
- Kanemoto, Y. & Macleod, B., 1989. "Optimal Labor Contracts With Non-Contractible Human Capital," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 116-89, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
- George Baker & Robert Gibbons & Kevin J. Murphy, 1994. "Subjective Performance Measures in Optimal Incentive Contracts," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 1125-1156.
- Fishback, Price V, 1992. "The Economics of Company Housing: Historical Perspectives from the Coal Fields," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(2), pages 346-65, April.
- Lazear, Edward P, 1979. "Why Is There Mandatory Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1261-84, December.
- Canice Prendergast, 1993. "The Role of Promotion in Inducing Specific Human Capital Acquisition," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(2), pages 523-534.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9559. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.