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June 18, 2007



If only we could get the government to give one of these new-fangled pushes to our telecom/cable sector. I am so sick of the service monopolies in this country that I could scream. I'm so glad to be paying cable premiums and 'infrastructure invesment charges' so that the wealthy suburbs can have Fiber Optic service installed, while my center-city apartment building has cable wires sprouting from every crevice like wild hairs. Grumble Grumble Grumble.

Jeff H

I was surprised Morck and Nakamura wrote this paper, given their previous collaboration was a pretty wide-ranging attack on the role of business groups in Japan's economic development. Basically, they tried to pull the lid off the argument that the keiretsu form of industrial organization was key to Japan's economic development. Also, Morck collaborated on a number of papers with Yeung and others which detail the ills of concentrated corporate control (you may note during the paper that they carefully do not challenge this agency perspective of business groups).

Other authors have argued this point for years, as Amsden has suggested that Korea's business groups, the chaebol, were key to the country's economic development since such groups allow for learning project execution skills and moving up the value chain, a la Hausmann's work on the product space (he specifically looks at Malaysia, another country chock full of business groups).

I believe the ubiquity of business groups in developing countries is causing a sea-change in the orthodox perception of these entities (see Khanna's 2007 JEL article on business groups as an example of this growing interest). I think increasingly the agency theorists are going to revisit their view of business groups as universally-bad and move towards a more nuanced position where we can see which groups are good or bad for development, and why and why not.

William Perera

This sounds related to Bernanke's discourse on GSEs last Friday (among the other topics he elucidated).

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Our big push theory of pyramidal business groups differs from other explanations of pyramidal business groups.

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