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Columbia Law School

1999

International Law

Columbia Law Review

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Lifetime Employment: Labor Peace And The Evolution Of Japanese Corporate Governance, Ronald J. Gilson, Mark J. Roe Jan 1999

Lifetime Employment: Labor Peace And The Evolution Of Japanese Corporate Governance, Ronald J. Gilson, Mark J. Roe

Faculty Scholarship

In Japan, large firms' relationships with their employees differ from those prevailing in large American firms. Large Japanese firms guarantee many employees lifetime employment, and the firms' boards consist of insider employees. Neither relationship is common in the United States.

Japanese lifetime employment is said to encourage firms and employees to invest in human capital. We examine the reported benefits of the firm's promise of lifetime employment, but conclude that it is no more than peripheral to human capital investments. Rather, the "dark" side of Japanese labor practice – constricting the external labor market – likely yielded the human capital benefits ...