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Corporate Governance in Transitional Economies: Lessons from the Pre-War Japanese Cotton Textile Industry

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  • Yoshiro Miwa

    (Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.)

  • J. Mark Ramseyer

    (Harvard University)

Abstract

Observers of the formerly communist transitional economies urge firms there to obtain funds from a relatively few sources. They note the institutional problems the firms face: courts not working, markets not developed, statutes not written. Because these firms cannot rely on the courts to discipline managers, they predict that firms will do best if they raise their capital only from a few concentrated sources. Firms in Japan at the close of the 19th century faced a similar "transitional" institutional environment. They too faced disfunctional courts, nascent markets, and non-existent statutes. Yet the firms that succeeded in Japan were not the ones that took the tack proposed by modern observers of transitional economies. They were the ones that used little debt and raised their equity from a large number of investors. In this article, we outline how concentrated finance can introduce problems potentially as severe as the ones it supposedly mitigates, and discuss why dispersed equity did not reduce firm efficiency in late-19th century Japan. Although investors with relatively large stakes can indeed provide a firm value, they do so only under limited conditions -- and we explore what some of those conditions might be.

Suggested Citation

  • Yoshiro Miwa & J. Mark Ramseyer, 1999. "Corporate Governance in Transitional Economies: Lessons from the Pre-War Japanese Cotton Textile Industry," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-48, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
  • Handle: RePEc:tky:fseres:99cf48
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    Cited by:

    1. Mark J. Roe, 2001. "Les conditions politiques au développement de la firme managériale," Revue Finance Contrôle Stratégie, revues.org, vol. 4(1), pages 123-182, March.
    2. Peter L. Rousseau & Richard Sylla, 2003. "Financial Systems, Economic Growth, and Globalization," NBER Chapters,in: Globalization in Historical Perspective, pages 373-416 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Miwa, Yoshiro & Ramseyer, J Mark, 2002. "Banks and Economic Growth: Implications from Japanese History," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(1), pages 127-164, April.
    4. Yoshiro Miwa & J. Mark Ramseyer, 2004. "Industrial Finance Before the Financial Revolution: Japan at the Turn of the Last Century (Subsequently published in "Explanations in Economic History", 2005, vol. 43, 94-118. )," CARF F-Series CARF-F-018, Center for Advanced Research in Finance, Faculty of Economics, The University of Tokyo.
    5. Serguey Braguinsky & Atsushi Ohyama & Tetsuji Okazaki & Chad Syverson, 2015. "Acquisitions, Productivity, and Profitability: Evidence from the Japanese Cotton Spinning Industry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(7), pages 2086-2119, July.
    6. Al-Jarhi, Mabid, 2016. "An economic theory of Islamic finance," MPRA Paper 72698, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Deloof, Marc & Vermoesen, Veronique, 2016. "The value of corporate boards during the Great Depression in Belgium," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 108-123.
    8. Sueyoshi, Toshiyuki & Goto, Mika & Omi, Yusuke, 2010. "Corporate governance and firm performance: Evidence from Japanese manufacturing industries after the lost decade," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 203(3), pages 724-736, June.
    9. Serguey Braguinsky, 2015. "Knowledge diffusion and industry growth: the case of Japan’s early cotton spinning industry," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(4), pages 769-790.
    10. Leslie Hannah, 2007. "The Divorce of Ownership from Control from 1900: Re-calibrating Imagined Global Historical Trends," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-460, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
    11. Sarkar, Jayati & Sarkar, Subrata, 2009. "Multiple board appointments and firm performance in emerging economies: Evidence from India," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 271-293, April.
    12. Leslie Hannah, 2015. "A global corporate census: publicly traded and close companies in 1910," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 68(2), pages 548-573, May.
    13. Aldo Musacchio, 2010. "Law and Finance c. 1900," NBER Working Papers 16216, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Love, Inessa & Maksimovic, Vojislav, 2006. "Business environment and the incorporation decision," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(11), pages 2967-2993, November.
    15. Hannah, Leslie & Kasuya, Makoto, 2015. "Twentieth century enterprise forms: Japan in comparative perspective," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 64489, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    16. Evan Osborne, 2006. "Corruption and Technological Progress: A Takeoff Theory of Good Governance," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 34(3), pages 289-302, September.
    17. Evan Osborne, 2004. "Corruption and Its Alternatives: A Takeoff Theory of Good Governance," ISER Discussion Paper 0604, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    18. Yoshiro Miwa & J. Mark Ramseyer, 2004. "Industrial Finance Before the Financial Revolution: Japan at the Turn of the Last Century," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-311, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
    19. Yoshiro Miwa & J. Mark Ramseyer, 2000. ""The Fable of the Keiretsu: "Keiretsu" in Keiretsu no Kenkyu"(in Japanese)," CIRJE J-Series CIRJE-J-38, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
    20. Miwa, Yoshiro & Ramseyer, J. Mark, 2006. "Japanese industrial finance at the close of the 19th century: Trade credit and financial intermediation," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 94-118, January.
    21. Yoshiro Miwa & J. Mark Ramseyer, 2001. "Property Rights and Indigenous Tradition Among Early 20th Century Japanese Firms," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-104, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
    22. Puan Yatim & Takiah Mohd Iskandar & Elsie Nga, 2016. "Board attributes and foreign shareholdings in Malaysian listed firms," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 20(1), pages 147-178, March.

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