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The Fable of the KeiretsuUrban Legends of the Japanese Economy$
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Yoshiro Miwa and J. Ramseyer

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780226532707

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226532721.001.0001

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The Myth of the Main Bank

The Myth of the Main Bank

(p.61) Chapter Four The Myth of the Main Bank
The Fable of the Keiretsu

J. Mark Ramseyer

University of Chicago Press

This chapter investigates whether it is true that Japanese companies held special arrangements with banks. It summarizes the accounts of Japanese “main banks” and the “implicit main bank contract” and describes several examples of the way banks deal with troubled firms. The analysis reveals that Japanese firms have no “main bank system” and never did. The idea was popularized by economists as an anecdote on which to peg their mathematical models and was used by non-economists as yet another putatively culture-bound economic phenomenon.

Keywords:   Japanese companies, main banks, troubled firms, economists, mathematical models, economic phenomenon

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