Motor vehicles are prominent among the flows of exports and/or imports for Canada, Germany, Japan, and the United States, and these trade flows are heavily influenced by the basic relative competitiveness of the production processes for automotive manufacturing. In this book the authors analyze the factors that contributed to the comparative cost competitiviness of the four countries' auto industries over the period 1961-1984 and disentangle the factors contributing to the Japanese cost and efficiency advantages. The authors provide estimates of comparative costs of automobile production (both short-run and long-run) and the sources of these cost differences, based on the econometric cost function methodology. An innovation is the careful treatment of capacity utilization, one of the most important sources of short-run cost and efficiency differences. This methodology is also used effectively in an analysis of the Canada-U.S. Auto Pact, a unique experiment in trade liberalization. Previous estimates of cost and efficiency differences using the plant inspection and comparison of company financial reports methodologies are also evaluated.
This book reveals the mechanisms underlying the convergence of car fuel economy regulations in Europe, Japan and the US by drawing upon a constructivist theory of International Relations and law that focuses on business competition and environmental regulations. It offers new understanding of the topic of cars and an issue of climate change, discussing the emerging phenomenon of convergence of fuel economy regulations; addressing the role of business actors in pushing for climate change action; proposing the new model of agency with and beyond states; and providing insightful case studies from Europe, Japan and the US.
The opening chapter reviews the automobile industry and global climate change, providing a background for the discussion to follow. Chapter 2, Business Actors and Global Environmental Governance, grounds the discussion in the field of environmental governance. The third chapter is a case study examining the construction and timing of the European Union's climate policies for automobile CO2 emissions, discussing the underlying factors and the actors influencing the policies. The following chapter argues that Japan adopted its stringent fuel economy regulations primarily because of industry competitiveness, motivated by stringent environmental regulations in export markets and encouraged by a tradition of 'co-regulation' and 'corporatism' to enhance the regulations. Chapter 5 asks why the US, the first country to introduce fuel economy regulations, spent two decades in regulatory stagnation, and discusses how recent US fuel economy regulations came to converge with Japanese and European standards.
Chapter 6 compares, contrasts and analyzes fuel economy regulations among the three case studies and identifies policy implications for the future climate governance for 2015 and beyond. The final chapter explores applicability of the 'agency with and beyond the state' model to other sectors and to climate governance as a whole.
Although no one disputes that employment relations worldwide have been greatly affected by globalisation, no clear consensus has emerged on the nature and significance of this impact. The seven contributions to this symposium pursue a comparative approach, suggesting that direct analysis of employment relations in distinct industries in two comparably-sized economies since the advent of globalisation leads to a more precise understanding of the interaction of globalisation and employment relations, and sets a pattern for other studies to follow.The economies studied in the symposium are Australia and Korea, and the industries are automobile (and auto parts) manufacturing and retail banking. In both countries, labour unions play a key role in the way in which employers and governments react to political and economic pressures.Among the particular topics discussed by the contributors are the following: effects of the 1997 financial crisis in Korea; the extent to which the automobile industry in one country (Korea) depends on parts and raw material from another country (Australia); cross-border cooperation between unions; the growing trend toward enterprise bargaining; conciliation and arbitration of industrial disputes; and the role of government-sponsored industrial relations commissions. The contributing authors are all industrial relations authorities in Australia or Korea. The in-depth analysis they offer in these very specific areas will be of value to labour lawyers and industrial relations scholars everywhere for the light it sheds on this crucial aspect of contemporary social and economic development.