Entrepreneurship and Japanese Industrialization in Historical Perspective

24 Pages Posted: 8 Oct 2009

See all articles by John P. Tang

John P. Tang

ANU Research School of Economics

Date Written: September 1, 2009


Studies of entrepreneurship in nineteenth century Japan typically focus on the activities of leading industrialists who founded large, family-owned conglomerates known as zaibatsu. These individuals do not conform well with the archetypal Schumpeterian entrepreneur, but this discrepancy may be more an issue of context than behavior. However, due to a lack of documentation for smaller independent firms, it is difficult to make this comparison. To broaden the scope of analysis, I use data drawn from corporate genealogies, which provide a more complete cross-section of entrepreneurial activity. This dataset of firm entry during the Meiji Period (1868-1912) covers a wide range of industries, allowing me to analyze aspects of Japan's early industrialization that heretofore have relied on anecdotal or case evidence. I also propose a game-theoretic model of entry appropriate for entrepreneurs in late developing economies that exploit the qualitative nature of these data.

Keywords: Meiji Japan, entrepreneurship, entry model, industrialization, late development

JEL Classification: N85, O14, O33

Suggested Citation

Tang, John P., Entrepreneurship and Japanese Industrialization in Historical Perspective (September 1, 2009). US Census Bureau Center for Economic Studies Paper No. CES 09-30, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1484795 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1484795

John P. Tang (Contact Author)

ANU Research School of Economics ( email )

LF Crisp Building 26
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200

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