Ökonomische Analyse einiger Merkmale der japanischen Industrieorganisation

Waldenberger, Franz GND

This article analyzes some special features of Japanese industrial organization: the relatively high degree of vertical and horizontal specialization of Japanese firms and the high percentage of small and medium sized enterprises in the organization of industrial production. These differences are related to characteristics of the Japanese labor market. The underdevelopment of an external labor market implies that Japanese labor management has to fulfill additional incentive and information functions that would otherwise be taken over by a fully developed external market. It is argued that this shifts marginal management costs upward, leading to smaller and more specialized firms in Japanese industry. Other possible explanations for these characteristics of Japanese industrial organization are considered, such as socio-cultural factors, the high-growth environment, the effective protection of Japanese manufacturing industries against imports and direct foreign investment during the high-growth period, and the special policies for the support of small and medium-sized enterprises. It is suggested that none of these explanations is sufficient. However, the effective protection of Japanese industry is found to have been a decisive factor insofar as it prevented an early integration of Japanese industry into the international division of labor. Such an integration would probably not have allowed Japanese industrial organization to develop its peculiar features.