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The Japanese Depression in the Interwar Period: A General Equilibrium Analysis

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  • Saijo Hikaru

    () (University of Pennsylvania and University of Tokyo)

Abstract

This paper studies the Japanese depression in the interwar period using the business cycle accounting methodology and a general equilibrium model with time-varying markups. I find that the initial slowdown of the economy can be explained by a decline in productivity. However, I also find that when only productivity change is taken into account, a prototype neoclassical growth model predicts that in the 1930s, output recovers more rapidly than is actually supported by the data. Using restrictions from theory, I quantify the contribution of an increase in markups in the manufacturing and mining sectors and find that a substantial fraction of the weak recovery can be explained by this factor. I argue that this increase in markups is caused by government-promoted cartelization.

Suggested Citation

  • Saijo Hikaru, 2008. "The Japanese Depression in the Interwar Period: A General Equilibrium Analysis," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-26, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejmac:v:8:y:2008:i:1:n:25
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Prescott, Edward C., 1986. "Theory ahead of business-cycle measurement," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 11-44, January.
    2. Erasmus Kersting, 2008. "The 1980s Recession in the UK: A Business Cycle Accounting Perspective," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(1), pages 179-191, January.
    3. Paul Beaudry & Franck Portier, 2002. "The French Depression in the 1930s," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(1), pages 73-99, January.
    4. Felipe Meza, 2008. "Financial Crisis, Fiscal Policy, and the 1995 GDP Contraction in Mexico," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 40(6), pages 1239-1261, September.
    5. Lee E. Ohanian, 2002. "Why did productivity fall so much during the Great Depression?," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Spr.
    6. Kobayashi, Keiichiro & Inaba, Masaru, 2006. "Business cycle accounting for the Japanese economy," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 418-440, December.
    7. Jonas D. M. Fisher, 2006. "The Dynamic Effects of Neutral and Investment-Specific Technology Shocks," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(3), pages 413-451, June.
    8. Lawrence J. Christiano & Roberto Motto & Massimo Rostagno, 2003. "The Great Depression and the Friedman-Schwartz hypothesis," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 1119-1215.
    9. Jonas D.M. Fisher & Andreas Hornstein, 2002. "The Role of Real Wages, Productivity, and Fiscal Policy in Germany's Great Depression 1928-37," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(1), pages 100-127, January.
    10. Jonas D.M. Fisher & Andreas Hornstein, 2002. "The Role of Real Wages, Productivity, and Fiscal Policy in Germany's Great Depression 1928-37," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(1), pages 100-127, January.
    11. Fumio Hayashi & Edward C. Prescott, 2008. "The Depressing Effect of Agricultural Institutions on the Prewar Japanese Economy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(4), pages 573-632, August.
    12. Chakraborty, Suparna, 2009. "The boom and the bust of the Japanese economy: A quantitative look at the period 1980-2000," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 116-131, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Otsu Keisuke, 2009. "A Neoclassical Analysis of the Postwar Japanese Economy," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-30, May.
    2. Petre Caraiani, 2016. "Business Cycle Accounting for Peripheral European Economies," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 63(5), pages 468-496, November.
    3. Otsu Keisuke, 2010. "A Neoclassical Analysis of the Asian Crisis: Business Cycle Accounting for a Small Open Economy," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-39, July.

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