Work and Pay in the United States and Japan

By Clair Brown; Yoshifumi Nakata et al. | Go to book overview

7
Conclusion

Our analysis of Japanese and U.S. employment and wage systems has identified the aspects of the Japanese system that have supported relatively high growth, low inflation, and an equitable distribution of income while maintaining high international competitiveness. However, Japan's superior performance in these areas has been accompanied by large social costs including strict gender roles, long working hours for men, limited time for family and vacation, and few opportunities for workers to improve their labor market position after early adulthood. In response to heightened international competition, especially from Japan, U.S. firms adopted several Japanese employment practices while tailoring adaptation of these policies to U.S. labor market institutions.

The comparison of Japan and the United States demonstrates that overall economic performance is not determined by either firm employment systems or national economic institutions. Firm practices, which affect a single company's competitiveness, can support or constrain a country's ability to achieve its economic goals, but the firms' practices cannot themselves determine a country's economic performance.

Within Japan, the economic slowdown of the 1990s called into question the durability of the Japanese security-based employment systems, and Japanese employers looked to U.S. companies for lessons in improving labor market mobility. However, we find that the business sector carried the burden of the recession, and the employment system in large and mid-sized Japanese companies along with the Shunto wage-setting process minimized the impact of the recession on income and

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Work and Pay in the United States and Japan
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents ix
  • 1 - Comparing Employment Systems 3
  • Note 20
  • 2 - Security 21
  • Notes 61
  • 3 - Employee Involvement and Training 67
  • Introduction 67
  • Summary: Employee Involvement and Training in the Set Model 94
  • Notes 95
  • 4 - Pay Systems, Career Paths, and Earnings Inequality 97
  • Introduction 97
  • Summary and Major Findings 130
  • Appendix: Calculation of Standard Career Paths 132
  • Appendix: Calculation of Standard Career Paths 134
  • 5 - Employers and Unions 137
  • Notes 156
  • 6 - National Wage Determination in Japan 158
  • Summary 189
  • Notes 190
  • 7 - Conclusion 191
  • References 209
  • Index 227
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