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Suppliers' associations in the Japanese automobile industry: collective action for technology diffusion

Mari Sako
Cambridge Journal of Economics
Vol. 20, No. 6 (November 1996), pp. 651-671
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23599829
Page Count: 21
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Suppliers' associations in the Japanese automobile industry: collective action for technology diffusion
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Abstract

This paper analyses the structure and functions of suppliers' associations (kyoryokukai) in the automobile industry in Japan. The bilateral assembler—supplier relationship has received much attention recently as a source of Japanese industrial competitiveness. However, this paper argues that the hitherto neglected area of intersupplier co-ordination in technology diffusion is at least as important as the bilateral assembler—supplier relationship in accounting for the overall performance of the Japanese automotive industry. On the basis of company visits and a large-scale survey of first-tier suppliers conducted by the author, the paper analyses the reasons why suppliers' associations were established and why they continue to exist today, and their effects on economic performance.

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