Technological Leadership and Late Development: Evidence from Meiji Japan, 1868-1912
24 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2008 Last revised: 11 Aug 2010
Date Written: May 1, 2010
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: Suggested Citation