Japanese Horizontal Keiretsu and the Performance Implications of Membership


Our study investigates the effect of Japanese horizontal keiretsu group membership on firm risk and return. Like prior studies, our results show that horizontal keiretsu membership has a negative effect on firm profitability. However, we find that horizontal keiretsu networks are likely to increase the gap between targeted and realized returns, which we call the outcome-aspiration gap. Moreover, in contrast to prior studies, our results indicate that keiretsu membership does not enable member firms to reduce risks by smoothing profitability. Instead, our findings provide evidence that is counter to the conventional notion that Japanese horizontal keiretsu allow their member firms to trade off profits for reduced risk.

keywords: horizontal keiretsu
       risk sharing

Takehiko ISOBE
Research Institute for Economics and Business Administration
Kobe University
Rokkodai-cho, Nada-ku, Kobe
657-8501 Japan
Phone: (81) 78 803 7036
Fax: (81) 78 803 7059

Department of Management
The Chinese University of Hong Kong

University of Victoria