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The Bubble and the Lost Decade


  • Gary R. Saxonhouse

    (University of Michigan (Ann Arbor))

  • Robert M. Stern

    (University of Michigan (Ann Arbor))


In this overview of the Symposium papers, we note that the bubble that occurred in Japan's asset markets in the late 1980s came at a time when the conventional indicators of Japan's economic performance were relatively stable. Following the collapse of the bubble, neither the Bank of Japan (BOJ) nor the Ministry of Finance (MOF) took timely and effective measures to deal with the recession that followed. While the evidence suggests that looser fiscal policy would have been ineffective, monetary policy measures might have worked. However, the BOJ followed a relatively tight monetary policy in 1991-93. In the face of the liquidity trap that ensued in the last of the 1990s, the conventional tools of stabilisation policy appeared to be of limited use. To help the Japanese economy to recover from the 'lost decade,' we thus discuss a number of unconventional and bold measures that the BOJ and MOF could pursue. It appears, however, that the political will is absent to undertake such measures. So long as this is the case, the effects of the lost decade will continue to act as a drag on the economy. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2003.

Suggested Citation

  • Gary R. Saxonhouse & Robert M. Stern, 2003. "The Bubble and the Lost Decade," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(3), pages 267-281, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:worlde:v:26:y:2003:i:3:p:267-281

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Takeo Hoshi & Anil K. Kashyap, 2004. "Japan's Financial Crisis and Economic Stagnation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 3-26, Winter.
    2. Gary Saxonhouse, 2005. "Good deflation/bad deflation and Japanese economic recovery," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 201-218, November.
    3. James Foreman-Peck, 2014. "Great recessions compared," Investigaciones de Historia Económica (IHE) Journal of the Spanish Economic History Association, Asociacion Espa–ola de Historia Economica, vol. 10(02), pages 92-103.
    4. W. R. Garside, 2012. "Japan’s Great Stagnation," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 14624.
    5. Gary Saxonhouse & Robert Stern, 2005. "Reversal of fortune: Macroeconomic policy, International Finance, and Banking in Japan," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 91-100, November.
    6. Christoph A. Schaltegger & Martin Weder, 2013. "Will Europe Face A Lost Decade? A Comparison With Japan's Economic Crisis," CREMA Working Paper Series 2013-03, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).

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