The Assessment: Japan's Stagnation--Can Policy Revive the Economy?
For a decade now Japan has virtually stagnated. Some blame this on a succession of unfavourable shocks that began with the bursting of the "bubble" economy. More appropriate macroeconomic policies, targeting inflation and/or the exchange rate, could, in this view, lead to a revival. Others argue that the country's problems are deeper seated and require major structural reforms. Many aspects of Japan's distinctive economic system should, in this view, be either jettisoned or profoundly changed. It is unlikely that demand-management policies can add much to what they have done so far. Deregulation is needed in many areas and would, no doubt, help, but a wholesale rejection of erstwhile institutions and practices does not seem on the cards and might well be disruptive. Copyright 2000 by Oxford University Press.
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