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Effects of Measurement Error on the Output Gap in Japan


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  • Kamada, Koichiro

    (Bank of Japan)

  • Masuda, Kazuto

    (Bank of Japan)


Potential output is the largest amount of products that can be produced by fully utilizing available labor and capital stock; the output gap is defined as the discrepancy between actual and potential output. If data on production factors contain measurement errors, total factor productivity (TFP) cannot be estimated accurately from the Solow residual(i.e., the portion of output that is not attributable to labor and capital inputs). This may give rise to distortions in the estimation of potential output and the output gap. The primary purpose of this paper is to discuss theoretically how measurement errors and quality changes in production factors affect estimates of potential output and the output gap. The main results are (1) that effects of quality changes in production factors can be left in the Solow residual for correct estimation of potential output and the output gap, but (2) that measurement errors in utilization of capital stock and labor should be removed. Estimation of Japanfs output gap, in particular, may be distorted by the absence of data on capacity utilization in non-manufacturing sectors. To resolve this problem, we consider two definitions of output gap and compare their performance. The first definition (the conventional output gap) assumes capacity utilization to be 100 percent in non-manufacturing sectors. Then we fit a certain trend to the Solow residual and define the trend as TFP and the regression residual as the measurement error of capacity utilization in non-manufacturing sectors. The second definition (the new output gap) uses data on electricity consumption to directly estimate capacity utilization in non-manufacturing sectors. In this case, we can take the Solow residual to be TFP. Next, we compare the performance of the two definitions of output gap in terms of their consistency with the reference dates of business cycle and with various DIs in Short-Term Economic Survey of Enterprises in Japan published by the Bank of Japan, including the business conditions DI. We show that the new output gap is superior to the conventional output gap. Furthermore, when the new output gap is used in a Phillips curve, estimates of parameters are more stable than when we use the conventional output gap. These results suggest that the new output gap is a suitable measure of slackness in the Japanese economy.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan in its journal Monetary and Economic Studies.

Volume (Year): 19 (2001)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 109-154

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Handle: RePEc:ime:imemes:v:19:y:2001:i:2:p:109-154

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Cited by:
  1. Muto, Ichiro, 2007. "Estimating a New Keynesian Phillips Curve with a Corrected Measure of Real Marginal Cost: Evidence in Japan," MPRA Paper 4662, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Se-Jik Kim, 2003. "Macro Effects of Corporate Restructuring in Japan," IMF Working Papers 03/203, International Monetary Fund.
  3. 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.
  4. Matsubayashi, Yoichi, 2006. "Structural and cyclical movements of the current account in Japan: An alternative measure," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 545-567, December.
  5. Iichiro Uesugi & Guy M. Yamashiro, 2004. "How Trade Credit Differs from Loans: Evidence from Japanese Trading Companies," Discussion papers 04028, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
  6. Yuki Teranishi & Ippei Fujiwara & Naoko Hara, 2004. "The Japanese Economic Model: JEM," Econometric Society 2004 Far Eastern Meetings 723, Econometric Society.
  7. Hirose, Yasuo & Kamada, Koichiro, 2003. "A New Technique for Simultaneous Estimation of Potential Output and the Phillips Curve," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 21(2), pages 93-112, August.
  8. Masao Tsuri, 2005. "Discretionary deficit and its effects on Japanese economy," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(19), pages 2239-2249.
  9. Emilio Colombo & Luisanna Onnis & Patrizio Tirelli, 2013. "Shadow economies at times of banking crises: empirics and theory," Working Papers 234, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Feb 2013.
  10. SHINADA Naoki, 2011. "Quality of Labor, Capital, and Productivity Growth in Japan: Effects of employee age, seniority, and capital vintage," Discussion papers 11036, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
  11. Hideo Hayakawa & Hiroshi Ugai, 2001. "Why did prices in Japan hardly decline during the 1997-98 recession?," BIS Papers chapters, in: Bank for International Settlements (ed.), Empirical studies of structural changes and inflation, volume 3, pages 139-173 Bank for International Settlements.


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