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"Voice" and "Exit" in Japanese Firms during the Second World War: Sanpo Revisited


  • Tetsuji Okazaki

    (Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo)


During the Second World War, the Japanese government and private sector searched for and implemented new mechanisms for coordination and motivation. One of these was sangyo hokokukai (sanpo). Sanpo unit was basically an organization of the employer and employees of each firm, which held meetings to moderate labor relations. Due to the government policy to promote sanpo units, around 70% of the total workers in Japan were organized into sanpo units in the early 1940s. As the members of labor unions and the workers of the companies which had factory committees, were only 7 % and 5% of the total workers in 1936 respectively, sanpo was the first large scale mechanism for Japanese employees to voice. In this paper, I examined the role of sanpo, using prefecture level data and firm level data, based on a framework integrating the "voice view" of unionism and the transaction cost economics. It was found that sanpo reduced the participation rate in labor disputes, and enhanced labor productivity at least in some period.

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  • Tetsuji Okazaki, 2005. ""Voice" and "Exit" in Japanese Firms during the Second World War: Sanpo Revisited," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-345, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
  • Handle: RePEc:tky:fseres:2005cf345

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    1. Brown, Charles & Medoff, James, 1978. "Trade Unions in the Production Process," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(3), pages 355-378, June.
    2. Nicholas Wilson & Michael J. Peel, 1991. "The Impact on Absenteeism and Quits of Profit-Sharing and other Forms of Employee Participation," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 44(3), pages 454-468, April.
    3. Tracy, Joseph S, 1986. "An Investigation into the Determinants of U.S. Strike Activity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 423-436, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. NAKABAYASHI, Masaki, 2008. "Dual Structure of Emerging Japan: Revisit to Economics of Peasantry," ISS Discussion Paper Series (series F) f144, Institute of Social Science, The University of Tokyo, revised 22 Feb 2017.

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