Japan's long-term recession has provoked no sustained political movement to replace the nation's malfunctioning economic structure. The country's basic social contract, which traded lifetime employment for male workers against government support for industry and the private (female) provision of care for children and elderly, has so far proved resistant to reform. Two social groups bear the brunt of having to provide for the social protection of the weak and dependent: large firms, which committed to keeping their core workforce on the payroll even in slow times, and women, who stayed home to care for their homes and families. Using the exit-voice framework made famous by Albert Hirschman, Schoppa argues that both groups have chosen "exit" rather than "voice", depriving the political process of the energy needed to propel necessary reforms in the system. Schoppa suggests that a radical break with the Japanese social contract of the past is becoming inevitable as the system slowly and quietly unravels. With tables, notes and index.
Race for the Exits: The Unraveling of Japan's System of Social Protection
AuthorsSchoppa, Leonard J.
PublisherSuny Press (Cornell University)