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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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  • Kuttner, Kenneth N. & Posen, Adam S., 2004. "The difficulty of discerning what's too tight: Taylor rules and Japanese monetary policy," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 53-74, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecofin:v:15:y:2004:i:1:p:53-74
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    Cited by:

    1. Thanaset Chevapatrakul & Tae-Hwan Kim & Paul Mizen, 2009. "The Taylor Principle and Monetary Policy Approaching a Zero Bound on Nominal Rates: Quantile Regression Results for the United States and Japan," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 41(8), pages 1705-1723, December.
    2. Paul Mizen & Tae-Hwan Kim & Alan Thanaset, "undated". "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).
    3. PierreL. Siklos & Yang Zhang, 2010. "Identifying The Shocks Driving Inflation In China," Pacific Economic Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(2), pages 204-223, May.
    4. Mehrotra, Aaron, 2009. "The case for price level or inflation targeting--What happened to monetary policy effectiveness during the Japanese disinflation?," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 280-291, August.
    5. 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 Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt48k5q6vd, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
    6. Roberto M. Billi, 2009. "Was monetary policy optimal during past deflation scares?," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q III, pages 67-98.
    7. Takatoshi Ito & Frederic S. Mishkin, 2006. "Two Decades of Japanese Monetary Policy and the Deflation Problem," NBER Chapters,in: Monetary Policy with Very Low Inflation in the Pacific Rim, NBER-EASE, Volume 15, pages 131-202 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Frederic S. Mishkin, 2005. "The Fed after Greenspan," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 31(3), pages 317-332, Summer.
    9. Leigh, Daniel, 2008. "Estimating the Federal Reserve's implicit inflation target: A state space approach," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 2013-2030, June.
    10. 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.
    11. Adam S. Posen, 2010. "The Central Banker's Case for Doing More," Policy Briefs PB10-24, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
    12. 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.
    13. Kamada, Koichiro, 2005. "Real-time estimation of the output gap in Japan and its usefulness for inflation forecasting and policymaking," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 309-332, December.
    14. William R. Cline & Kyoji Fukao & Tokuo Iwaisako & Kenneth N. Kuttner & Adam S. Posen & Jeffrey J. Schott, 2014. "Lessons from Decades Lost: Economic Challenges and Opportunities Facing Japan and the United States," PIIE Briefings PIIEB14-4, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
    15. 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.
    16. 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.
    17. 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.
    18. Yu-chin Chen & Pisut Kulthanavit, 2008. "Adaptive Learning And Monetary Policy In An Open Economy: Lessons From Japan," Pacific Economic Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(4), pages 405-430, October.
    19. Kiesel, Konstantin & Wolters, Maik H., 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 (IfW).
    20. Joseph E. Gagnon, 2009. "The World Needs Further Monetary Ease, Not an Early Exit," Policy Briefs PB09-22, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
    21. Daniel Leigh, 2005. "Estimating the Implicit Inflation Target; An Application to U.S. Monetary Policy," IMF Working Papers 05/77, International Monetary Fund.
    22. 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.
    23. Jau-er Chen & Masanori Kashiwagi, 2017. "The Japanese Taylor rule estimated using censored quantile regressions," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 52(1), pages 357-371, February.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E42 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Monetary Sytsems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation

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