Industrial Organization in Japan

Industrial Organization in Japan

Industrial Organization in Japan

Industrial Organization in Japan

Excerpt

In February 1976, Brookings published Asia's New Giant: How the Japanese Economy Works , edited byHugh Patrick andHenry Rosovsky, in which a group of American and Japanese economists summarized their findings about the operation of Japan's economy and that nation's economic prospects. Their research was so fruitful that they found it difficult to present their findings comprehensively in single chapters. In several instances, the authors' conclusions ran to book length and warranted separate publication. Industrial Organization in Japan is the first such sequel to Asia's New Giant .

Caves and Uekusa found Japanese industry and industrial policy a particularly attractive research challenge. Japan's large and fast-growing corporations have awed Westerners with their technical skill and rapidly rising productivity. Organized groups of Japanese entrepreneurs and the close relationship between business and government have stirred feelings of envy and suspicion among Western observers, and the fate of small businesses competing with Japan's industrial juggernauts has elicited concern. The authors here bring economic analysis and statistical research methods to bear on questions such as these, over which myth and opinion have often held sway. Their study, which makes extensive comparisons between the Japanese and American industrial systems, finds that the economic forces at work in Japanese industry are similar to those in Western industrial countries. And Japan's industrial policy appears not as a miracle of national purpose but as a rolling compromise between the shifting objectives of public policy and the economic interests of the industrial sector. While the authors find Japanese industry and industrial policy in no way alien to their Western counterparts, they do identify important effects of Japan's distinctive industrial features - the industrial groups, the practice of permanent employment, the prevalence of small enterprises, and others. In their view the structures of Japanese . . .

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