The recent economic role of bank-firm relationships in Japan
Our analysis highlights central aspects of the role of Japanese bank-firm relationships in times of deregulation. Comparing our results with earlier findings, it becomes evident that financial deregulation has triggered dramatic changes concerning the position of banks in the financial market and their relationships with large manufacturing firms. Since deregulation has opened up domestic as well as foreign capital markets, easy access to capital is not limited to bank-affiliated firms. While in earlier years firms with close banking ties may have been more profitable or used their advantages to enhance their growth or the compensation of employees, now whether such a relationship benefits a firm or acts as an obstacle depends largely upon the nature of that relationship. Hence, there are two general points made in this paper. First, in order to assess the economic role of bank affiliations, it is of eminent importance to differentiate between the various ways of establishing and maintaining bank-firm relationships. Second, the rapid development of the Japanese financial market over the last two decades has reduced the monopoly power of banks in a wide range of areas, which has caused dramatic changes concerning the benefits and costs of bank-firm relationships.
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