Steven K. Vogel (UCB), Japan’s Ambivalent Pursuit of Shareholder Capitalism, UTokyo CJG lecture, Friday, January 11, 2019

Gregory Noble's picture
January 11, 2019
Subject Fields: 
Asian History / Studies, Japanese History / Studies, Political Science, Law and Legal History, Economic History / Studies

The Contemporary Japan Group at the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Social Science

(ISS, or Shaken), welcomes you to a lecture by


Steven K. Vogel

(UC Berkeley)

Japan’s Ambivalent Pursuit of Shareholder Capitalism



FRIDAY, January 11, 2019 from 6:00-7:30 p.m. at Akamon Sōgō Kenkyūtō Room 549, Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo, Hongo Campus, University of Tokyo



Modern-day markets do not arise spontaneously or evolve naturally. Rather they are crafted by individuals, firms, and most of all, by governments. Thus “marketcraft” represents a core function of government roughly comparable to statecraft. This talk builds upon the recognition that all markets are crafted, and then explores the implications for understanding the evolution of the Japanese market model. As the Japanese economy descended from boom to bust in the early 1990s, government and industry leaders called for a decisive move toward U.S.-style shareholder capitalism. But a funny thing happened on Japan’s way to the U.S. model – it never got there. In practice, the government gave firms more options for restructuring, but did not make them more beholden to shareholders. And firms favored superficial adjustments to prop up share prices rather than fundamental changes. In fact, Japanese government and industry were probably wise to be ambivalent of the shareholder model, for some of the core features of that model – such as stock options, share buybacks, and mass layoffs –have not proven to improve long-term corporate performance in the United States.


Steven K. Vogel is Chair of the Political Economy Program, the Il Han New Professor of Asian Studies, and a Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley. He specializes in the political economy of the advanced industrialized nations, especially Japan. He is the author of Marketcraft: How Governments Make Markets Work (2018); Japan Remodeled: How Government and Industry Are Reforming Japanese Capitalism (2006); and Freer Markets, More Rules: Regulatory Reform in Advanced Industrial Countries (1996).


The ISS Contemporary Japan Group provides English-speaking residents of the Tokyo area with an opportunity to hear cutting-edge research in social science and related policy issues, as well as a venue for researchers and professionals in or visiting Tokyo to present and receive knowledgeable feedback on their latest research projects. Admission is free and advance registration is not required. Everyone is welcome.
For more information, including maps and a list of past lectures, please visit our website:
or contact
Gregory W. NOBLE (


Contact Email: