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The difficulty of discerning what's too tight: Taylor rules and Japanese monetary policy

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  • Kuttner, Kenneth N.
  • Posen, Adam S.

Abstract

Observers have relied increasingly on simple reaction functions, such as the Taylor rule, to assess the conduct of monetary policy. Applying this approach to deflationary or near-zero inflation environments is problematic, however, and this paper examines two shortcomings of particular relevance to the Japanese case of the last decade. One is the unusually high degree of uncertainty associated with potential output in an environment of prolonged stagnation and deflation. Consequently, reaction function-based assessments of Japanese monetary policy are so sensitive to the chosen gauge of potential output as to be unreliable. The second shortcoming is the neglect of policy expectations, which become critically important as nominal interest rates approach zero. Using long-term bond yields, we identify five episodes since 1996 characterized by abrupt declines in Japanese inflation expectations. Policies undertaken by the Bank of Japan during this period did little to stabilize expectations, and the August 2000 interest rate increase appears to have intensified deflationary concerns.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal The North American Journal of Economics and Finance.

Volume (Year): 15 (2004)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 53-74

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecofin:v:15:y:2004:i:1:p:53-74

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/620163

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References

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  1. Richard Clarida & Jordi Gali & Mark Gertler, 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," NBER Working Papers 7147, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Orphanides, Athanasios & Porter, Richard D. & Reifschneider, David & Tetlow, Robert & Finan, Frederico, 2000. "Errors in the measurement of the output gap and the design of monetary policy," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 52(1-2), pages 117-141.
  3. Kenneth N. Kuttner & Adam S. Posen, 2001. "The Great Recession: Lessons for Macroeconomic Policy from Japan," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 32(2), pages 93-186.
  4. Marc P. Giannoni & Michael Woodford, 2003. "Optimal Interest-Rate Rules: I. General Theory," NBER Working Papers 9419, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Bennett T. McCallum, 2000. "Alternative Monetary Policy Rules: A Comparison with Historical Settings for the United States, the United Kingdom, and Japan," NBER Working Papers 7725, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Kenneth N. Kuttner & Adam S. Posen, 2000. "Inflation, Monetary Transparency, and G3 Exchange Rate Volatility," Working Paper Series WP00-6, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  8. Athanasios Orphanides, 2001. "Monetary Policy Rules Based on Real-Time Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 964-985, September.
  9. Richard Clarida & Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 2000. "Monetary Policy Rules And Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence And Some Theory," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(1), pages 147-180, February.
  10. Orphanides, Athanasios & Wieland, Volker, 2000. "Efficient Monetary Policy Design near Price Stability," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 327-365, December.
  11. Adam S. Posen, 2002. "The Looming Japanese Crisis," Policy Briefs PB02-05, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  12. Marvin Goodfriend & Robert G. King, 2001. "The case for price stability," Working Paper 01-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  13. Gauti B. Eggertsson & Michael Woodford, 2003. "The Zero Bound on Interest Rates and Optimal Monetary Policy," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 34(1), pages 139-235.
  14. Marc P. Giannoni & Michael Woodford, 2003. "Optimal Interest-Rate Rules: A General Approach," Levine's Bibliography 666156000000000246, UCLA Department of Economics.
  15. Okina, Kunio & Shiratsuka, Shigenori, 2002. "Asset Price Bubbles, Price Stability, and Monetary Policy: Japan' s Experience," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 20(3), pages 35-76, October.
  16. Ben Bernanke & Mark Gertler, 1999. "Monetary policy and asset price volatility," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 77-128.
  17. Kenneth Kuttner, 1992. "Monetary policy with uncertain estimates of potential output," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Jan, pages 2-15.
  18. Adam S. Posen, 1998. "Restoring Japan's Economic Growth," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 35.
  19. Okina, Kunio & Shiratsuka, Shigenori, 2004. "Policy commitment and expectation formation: Japan's experience under zero interest rates," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 75-100, March.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. James Harrigan & Kenneth Kuttner, 2004. "Lost Decade in Translation: Did the US Learn from Japan's Post-Bubble Mistakes?," NBER Working Papers 10938, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Takatoshi Ito & Frederic S. Mishkin, 2004. "Two Decades of Japanese Monetary Policy and the Deflation Problem," NBER Working Papers 10878, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Ito, Hiro, 2003. "Was Japan’s Real Interest Rate Really Too High During the 1990s? The Role of the Zero Interest Rate Bound and Other Factors," Santa Cruz Center for International Economics, Working Paper Series qt48k5q6vd, Center for International Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  4. Paul Mizen & Tae-Hwan Kim & Alan Thanaset, . "Evaluating the Taylor Principle Over the Distribution of the Interest Rate: Evidence from the US, UK and Japan," Discussion Papers 07/05, University of Nottingham, Centre for Finance, Credit and Macroeconomics (CFCM).
  5. Kim, Tae-Hwan & Mizen, Paul, 2010. "Estimating monetary reaction functions at near zero interest rates," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 106(1), pages 57-60, January.
  6. Adam Posen, 2003. "It Takes More Than a Bubble to Become Japan," RBA Annual Conference Volume, in: Anthony Richards & Tim Robinson (ed.), Asset Prices and Monetary Policy Reserve Bank of Australia.
  7. Kamada, Koichiro, 2004. "Real-Time Estimation of the Output Gap in Japan and its Usefulness for Inflation Forecasting and Policymaking," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2004,14, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  8. Joseph E. Gagnon, 2009. "The World Needs Further Monetary Ease, Not an Early Exit," Policy Briefs PB09-22, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  9. Frederic S. Mishkin, 2005. "The Fed after Greenspan," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 31(3), pages 317-332, Summer.
  10. Daniel Leigh, 2005. "Estimating the Implicit Inflation Target," IMF Working Papers 05/77, International Monetary Fund.
  11. Adam S. Posen, 2010. "The Central Banker's Case for Doing More," Policy Briefs PB10-24, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  12. Konstantin Kiesel & Maik Wolters, 2014. "Estimating monetary policy rules when the zero lower bound on nominal interest rates is approached," Kiel Working Papers 1898, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  13. Tom Cargill & Federico Guerrero, 2006. "A ‘Second-Best’ Rationale to Deflationary Monetary Policy in Japan," Working Papers 06-009, University of Nevada, Reno, Department of Economics & University of Nevada, Reno , Department of Resource Economics.
  14. Tom Cargill & Federico Guerrero, 2006. "A Reassessment of the Problems with Interest Targeting: What Have We Learned from Japanese Monetary Policy?," Working Papers 06-010, University of Nevada, Reno, Department of Economics & University of Nevada, Reno , Department of Resource Economics.
  15. Yu-chin Chen & Pisut Kulthanavit, 2008. "Adaptive Learning and Monetary Policy: Lessons from Japan," Working Papers UWEC-2008-12-P, University of Washington, Department of Economics, revised Oct 2008.

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