Technological Leadership and Late Development: Evidence from Meiji Japan, 1868-1912

24 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2008 Last revised: 11 Aug 2010

See all articles by John P. Tang

John P. Tang

ANU Research School of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 1, 2010

Abstract

Large family-owned conglomerates known as zaibatsu have long been credited with leading Japanese industrialization during the Meiji Period (1868-1912), despite a lack of empirical analysis. Using a new dataset collected from corporate genealogies estimate of entry probabilities, I find that characteristics associated with zaibatsu increase a firm's likelihood of being an industry pioneer. In particular, first entry probabilities increase with industry diversification and private ownership, which may provide internal financing and risk-sharing, respectively. Nevertheless, the costs of excessive diversification may deter additional pioneering, which may account for the loss of zaibatsu technological leadership by the turn of the century.

Keywords: entrepreneurship, diversification, industrialization, Japan, late development, technology adoption

JEL Classification: L25, N85, O14, O33

Suggested Citation

Tang, John P., Technological Leadership and Late Development: Evidence from Meiji Japan, 1868-1912 (May 1, 2010). US Census Bureau Center for Economic Studies Paper No. CES-07-32R. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1103082 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1103082

John P. Tang (Contact Author)

ANU Research School of Economics ( email )

LF Crisp Building 26
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200
Australia

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