Sustaining Growth and Performance in East Asia
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Sustaining Growth and Performance in East Asia

The Role of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises

Edited by Charles Harvie and Boon-Chye Lee

This third book in the series focuses on how small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) contribute to achieving and sustaining growth and performance in their economies, as well as the ways in which governments can assist and enhance that contribution. This is of particular concern given the trauma suffered by East Asian economies in the wake of the financial and economic crisis of 1997–98.
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Chapter 5: On the Evolution of Firm Organization, SMEs and Economic Growth in the USA and Japan

Elias Sanidas


5. On the evolution of firm organization, SMEs and economic growth in the USA and Japan Elias Sanidas 5.1 INTRODUCTION The evolution of the organization of firms throughout history has only recently been extensively analysed. This evolution, especially in countries like the USA and Japan, is important to know and understand for many reasons, and in particular for its contribution to economic growth. This contribution is broadly the main theme of this chapter. However, there are generally two types of firms to explore, the large ones and the not so large. Thus, the total number of firms in a national economy includes the large enterprises (LEs), very often vertically integrated and multi-divisional, the medium-sized and the small firms (the latter two are often named SMEs). Researchers such as Chandler (for example 1977, 1986, 1990) and Schumpeter (for example 1950) have extensively analysed the positive role that LEs have historically played in the economic growth of nations like the USA and Germany, and of industries like oil and chemicals. More recently, considerable interest has been shown in the role that SMEs have been playing in shaping national economies.1 This renewed interest is mainly due to the fact that in many countries, from the 1980s onwards, small firms have been playing an increasingly important role in economic growth.2 In this chapter, an attempt will be made to synthesize the importance of all types of firms, under the umbrella of the total number of firms in an economy, in explaining differences in...

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