PUNCTUALITY: JAPANESE BUSINESS CULTURE, RAILWAY SERVICE AND COORDINATION PROBLEM
Many people have impression that Japanese are punctual. In fact, we can easily find data and cases supporting this impression. In contrast, many Western people who visited Japan in the second half of 20th century observed that Japanese seemed to be not punctual. So, it can be safely said that we have punctuality- culture and unpunctuality-culture in Japan. To the best of my knowledge, there is no study explaining logically why such contradictory cultures emerge in one society. One of this paper’s purposes is to explain this. In order to do so, I adopt game theoretic approach. Specifically, I consider a game where each agent chooses to be punctual or not. Punctuality has an effect like public goods. I prove that there are two Nash Equilibria in this game. In one equilibrium, each agent chooses not to be punctual. On the other hands, each agent chooses to be punctual in the other equilibrium. This explanation sheds a new light on Japanese business activity. In Japan, railway service is very punctual. But in the beginning of the state-owned railway, the service was unpunctual. There are also contradictory cultures. I explain these cultures using Game theory and suggest some hypotheses about factors creating change from the unpunctuality-culture to the punctuality- culture
Punctuality, Culture, Coordination problem
Aoki, Masahiko (2000), Toward a Comparative Institutional Analysis, Cambridge: MIT Press.