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"The Fable of the Keiretsu: "Keiretsu" in Keiretsu no Kenkyu"(in Japanese)

  • Yoshiro Miwa

    (Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo)

  • J. Mark Ramseyer

    (Harvard Law School/CIRJE, University of Tokyo)

Basic as it has become to studies of the Japanese economy, the concept of the "Keiretsu" is sheer fiction -- a creature of the academic imagination with no basis in real economic behavior. Almost all scholars writing on the subject use the categorization found in the annual Keiretsu no kenkyu [Research on the Keiretsu]. Published by an otherwise unknown Marxist "research institute" since 1960, the volume purports to sort firms by functional groupings. In fact, it simply sorts them by their principal loan source. If that loan source proxied for some unobserved variable, this sorting might be helpful. In fact, it does not. For example, among keiretsu firms, there is little cross-shareholding. Indeed, the non-financial firms in a given keiretsu hold stock in few other keiretsu firms at all. Although financial firms do buy stock in their debtors, they seem as likely to buy the stock of their non-keiretsu debtors as of keiretsu debtors. The lending patterns of financial firms in a keiretsu are usually uncorrelated, and much the same is true of their shareholding patterns.

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File URL: http://www.cirje.e.u-tokyo.ac.jp/research/dp/2000/2000cj38.pdf
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Paper provided by CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo in its series CIRJE J-Series with number CIRJE-J-38.

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Length: 85 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tky:jseres:2000cj38
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  1. Steven M. Fazzari & R. Glenn Hubbard & Bruce C. Petersen, 2000. "Investment-Cash Flow Sensitivities Are Useful: A Comment On Kaplan And Zingales," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(2), pages 695-705, May.
  2. R. Glenn Hubbard, 1998. "Capital-Market Imperfections and Investment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 193-225, March.
  3. Flath, David, 1993. "Shareholding in the Keiretsu, Japan's Financial Groups," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(2), pages 249-57, May.
  4. Takeo Hoshi & Anil Kashyap & David Scharfstein, 1993. "The Choice Between Public and Private Debt: An Analysis of Post-Deregulation Corporate Financing in Japan," NBER Working Papers 4421, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Miwa, Yoshiro & Ramseyer, J Mark, 2000. "Corporate Governance in Transitional Economies: Lessons from the Prewar Japanese Cotton Textile Industry," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(1), pages 171-203, January.
  6. Prowse, Stephen D, 1992. " The Structure of Corporate Ownership in Japan," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(3), pages 1121-40, July.
  7. McCloskey, Donald N, 1976. "Does the Past Have Useful Economics?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 14(2), pages 434-61, June.
  8. 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 127-64, April.
  9. Yoshiro Miwa & J. Mark Ramseyer, 1999. "The Value of Prominent Directors," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 279, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  10. Takeo Hoshi & Anil Kashyap & David Scharfstein, 1990. "The Role of Banks in Reducing the Costs of Financial Distress in Japan," NBER Working Papers 3435, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Kaplan, Steven N & Zingales, Luigi, 1997. "Do Investment-Cash Flow Sensitivities Provide Useful Measures of Financing Constraints," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 169-215, February.
  12. Steven N. Kaplan & Luigi Zingales, 2000. "Investment-Cash Flow Sensitivities are not Valid Measures of Financing Constraints," NBER Working Papers 7659, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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