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  • Author: Jeffrey Broadbent
  • Publication Date: 07-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: Scholars describe the East Asian—Japanese and South Korean—state as a network state that guides the private sector by means of embedded relationships (i.e., informal persuasive ties). In theoretical terms, these embedded ties represent informally institutionalized social capital. This study refines the network state thesis by comparing embedded ties with tangible resource exchanges in their effects upon political influence among political (organizational) actors in Japanese and U.S. labor politics. The network state thesis predicts that in Japan embedded ties should channel the flow of tangible resources (e.g., vital information, political support), and that embedded third party brokers should mediate this flow. Embedded ties have generally pervaded the Japanese polity, whereas in the United States, they have remained concentrated within the labor sector. In Japan, the embedded ties form a “bow tie” pattern: the Ministry of Labor (MOL) bridges a structural hole between corporatistic business and labor. The presence of embedded third parties predicts the dyadic exchange of information. Political support, by contrast, forms a distinct, nonembedded network, centered on political parties. Tensions between the embedded network and the instrumental political support network help explain characteristics of Japanese politics, such as the relative slowness of its response to financial crisis.
  • Topic: Industrial Policy, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Israel, East Asia, South Korea