Professor of Economic Research Institute, Hitotsubashi University, Dr. Chiaki Moriguchi’s specialty is comparative economic history, comparative institutional analysis, and family economics. Before she arrived at Hitotsubashi University, she taught as an associate professor at Harvard Business School (1998-2001) and Associate Professor at Northwestern University (2001-2009). In 2011, she received the 8th Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Award for “Comparative economic history of institutional development in Japan and the United States.” She earned a Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University and received an Abe Fellowship in 2004. Recent publications include, “Did Japan become an unequal society? Japan’s income disparity in comparative historical perspective,” Economic Review 68(2), 2017, “The evolution of child adoption and child welfare policies in Japan and Korea,” Economic Review 67(1), 2016 (co-authored with Eunhwa Kang), “Adopted children and stepchildren in twentieth-century America: Long-run trends in census microdata,” Economic Review 65 (1), 2014.
This project investigates the historical origins of employment systems in the U.S. and Japan and develops a theory of institutional change that provides a coherent explanation for the comparative historical experience of the two countries over the twentieth century. Using a game-theoretic framework, I characterize modern employment practices in the U.S. and Japan as a set of complementary practices that constitute two distinctive equilibria. I then trace institutional trajectories of the two countries and document the process of bifurcation, compiling new empirical evidence that combines national surveys, firm-level data, and company case studies. Long-run series of economic inequality measures provide additional evidence for the comparative institutional development of the two countries. The analysis indicates that employment systems are the product of dynamic and cumulative historical process. By advancing our understanding of history, the project offers important implications for contemporary debates concerning employment policies, labor market regulations and labor law reforms.