Japan needs policies to boost productivity for inclusive growth

OECD ECOSCOPE

by Randall Jones, Head of Japan Desk, OECD Economics Department

Labour productivity in Japan is about a quarter below the average of the top half of OECD countries (Figure 1), which is surprising given Japan’s outstanding performance in education and skills and high level of R&D spending. As in other countries, the labour productivity gap between leading and lagging firms has widened in Japan, resulting in greater wage inequality between firms. The 2017 OECD Economic Survey of Japan examines the scope for positive synergy between policies to promote productivity and inclusive growth.

Japan fig 1

The Survey stresses the importance of facilitating the exit of non-viable firms and the entry of innovative start-ups to narrow inter-firm productivity and wage gaps. Japan’s low exit rate, which is only about half of that in other advanced countries (Figure 2), results in a large number of non-viable firms. The widespread use of personal guarantees and the…

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