Economics: Posts

We recently held a book launch for Comparing Post-War Japanese and Finnish Economies and Societies

This book compares two countries with striking parallels in economic and political outcomes, yet with some distinct features in terms of institutional structures, relative size, and culture. Therefore, this book forms a fruitful platform for the study of the similarities and differences in the economic and societal development of Japan and Finland. Despite their geographic distance from one another and the aforementioned differences, both countries experienced rather similar economic and societal development patterns after the Second World War. The study of these societies both individually and through commonalities will provide a unique perspective on the emergence of modern economies and institutions.

Here is a transcript of the press release from University of Jyväskylä (Finland):

Researchers from Finland and Japan have compiled a book comparing development in the various sectors of the Finnish and Japanese economies after World War II. The book, published by Routledge, features the contributions of researchers from both countries. It is based on long-term research collaboration and a series of workshops arranged in University of Jyväskylä (Finland) and Kyoto Sangyo University (Japan).

A comparison of the economic systems of Japan and Finland is a relatively rare topic. To start with, their populations differ considerably. Japan has around 120 million inhabitants while Finland struggles forward with an economy of 5 million people. Similarities, however, can be found.

“For example, societal wellbeing appears similar, and the goals and development of education are surprisingly similar despite differences between the systems. In addition, both societies have developed from strong religious backgrounds,” says Jari Eloranta, professor at Appalachian State University (US) and docent at the University of Jyväskylä (Finland).

Outwardly, the education systems deviate from each other, yet both end up producing a similar high level of education. In the book, this topic is addressed by Anu Ojala together with Professor Yasushi Tanaka and Olli Turunen.

“Regardless of differences in implementation, education policies in both countries have focused on the same targets. In a global world, the extent of economic interconnections is also reflected in education,” Anu Ojala describes.

In Japan, one must pay for university-level education in both the private and public sectors. In Finland, education is paid for from public funds, also for international students. In Japan, it is families that are mainly responsible for tuition fees. What is similar in both cultures is a strong desire to raise people’s level of education.

The number of applicants to higher education studies has increased in both countries, as has the share of female graduates. In Finland, more women graduate from higher education institutions while in Japan the share of women is emphasised at the junior college level. However, women are gaining ground on men in the number of university degrees in Japan.

“In both countries, education helps one find a place in the labour market. However, education benefits women more in Japan,” Anu Ojala says. A higher education degree improves women’s salary level relatively more in Japan than such a degree does in Finland.

Comparing Post War Japanese and Finnish Economies and Societies