IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

On Alternatives to Aggressive Demand Policies to Revitalize the Japanese Economy

  • Kiyohiko G. Nishimura

    (Faculty of Economics University of Tokyo 7-3-1 Hongo Bunkyo Tokyo 113-0033 Japan)

  • Makoto Saito

    (Faculty of Economics Hitotsubashi University 2-1 Naka Kunitachi Tokyo 186-8601 Japan)

This paper claims that a scarcity of profitable private investment opportunities starting in the early 1990s or even earlier is a fundamental cause of Japan's prolonged economic stagnation during the 1990s and early 2000s. It presents evidence that the economy has been largely at a private equilibrium (i.e., at its optimum for the physical and human capital Japan has inherited from the past), rather than in a disequilibrium constrained by the binding zero bound of nominal interest rates and/or widespread liquidity constraints. Consequently, aggressive aggregate demand policies, particularly zero nominal interest rates coupled with aggressive quantity easing, are ineffective means for escaping from Japan's current economic stagnation and deflation. Reflation policies based on money financing alone are unlikely to solve the problem because of their strong distributional side effects and limited effects on employment and output. The paper concludes that although exchange rate policies are more promising than other aggregate demand policies, their political feasibility is questionable, and aggregate demand policies are unlikely to be effective without new structural initiatives to increase investment. Although the Japanese economy is at a private equilibrium, it is far from its social optimum. Socially desirable investment opportunities have not been exploited fully in Japan, mainly because most of them are unprofitable for the private sector. Socially oriented investment trusts are proposed as one way to encourage such investment. Copyright (c) 2004 The Earth Institute at Columbia University and the Massachusetts.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
File Function: link to full text
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Asian Economic Papers.

Volume (Year): 2 (2003)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 87-126

in new window

Handle: RePEc:tpr:asiaec:v:2:y:2003:i:3:p:87-126
Contact details of provider: Web page:

Order Information: Web:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Paul R. Krugman, 1998. "It's Baaack: Japan's Slump and the Return of the Liquidity Trap," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(2), pages 137-206.
  2. Fukuta, Yuichi & Saito, Makoto, 2002. "Forward Discount Puzzle and Liquidity Effects: Some Evidence from Exchange Rates among the United States, Canada, and Japan," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 34(4), pages 1014-33, November.
  3. Andrew B. Abel & N. Gregory Mankiw & Lawrence H. Summers & Richard J. Zeckhauser, 1989. "Assessing Dynamic Efficiency: Theory and Evidence," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(1), pages 1-19.
  4. Jess Benhabib & Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe & Martin Uribe, 2000. "Avoiding Liquidity Traps," Departmental Working Papers 199925, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  5. Fumio Hayashi & Edward C. Prescott, 2002. "Data Appendix to The 1990s in Japan: A Lost Decade," Technical Appendices hayashi02, Review of Economic Dynamics.
  6. Joe Peek & Eric S. Rosengren, 1996. "The international transmission of financial shocks: the case of Japan," Working Papers 96-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  7. Adam S. Posen & Ryoichi Mikitani (ed.), 2000. "Japan's Financial Crisis and Its Parallels to U. S. Experience," Peterson Institute Press: Special Reports, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number sr13, January.
  8. Lars E.O. Svensson, 2000. "The Zero Bound in an Open Economy: A Foolproof Way of Escaping from a Liquidity Trap," NBER Working Papers 7957, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. David L. Reifschneider & John C. Williams, 2000. "Three lessons for monetary policy in a low-inflation era," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, pages 936-978.
  10. Charles Engel, 1995. "The Forward Discount Anomaly and the Risk Premium: A Survey of Recent Evidence," NBER Working Papers 5312, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Fumio Hayashi & Edward C. Prescott, 2004. "The 1990s in Japan: a lost decade," Chapters, in: The Economics of an Ageing Population, chapter 2 Edward Elgar Publishing.
  12. Ben S. Bernanke & Michael Woodford, 1997. "Inflation Forecasts and Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 6157, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Itzhak Gilboa & David Schmeidler, 1989. "Maxmin Expected Utility with Non-Unique Prior," Post-Print hal-00753237, HAL.
  14. Miyazaki, Kenji & Saito, Makoto, 1999. "On the market risk involved in the public financial system in Japan: A theoretical and numerical investigation," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 23(8), pages 1243-1259, August.
  15. Yasuo Hirose & Koichiro Kamada, 2001. "A New Technique for Simultaneous Estimation of the Output Gap and Phillips Curve," Bank of Japan Working Paper Series Research and Statistics D, Bank of Japan.
  16. Fujiki, Hiroshi & Shiratsuka, Shigenori, 2002. "Policy Duration Effect under the Zero Interest Rate Policy in 1999-2000: Evidence from Japan's Money Market Data," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 20(1), pages 1-31, January.
  17. Bennett T. McCallum & Edward Nelson, . "An Optimizing IS-LM Specification for Monetary Policy and Business Cycle Analysis," GSIA Working Papers 1997-71, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  18. Adam S. Posen & Ryoichi Mikitani (ed.), 2000. "Japan's Financial Crisis and Its Parallels to U. S. Experience," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number sr13, January.
  19. Reifschneider, David & Willams, John C, 2000. "Three Lessons for Monetary Policy in a Low-Inflation Era," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 32(4), pages 936-66, November.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:tpr:asiaec:v:2:y:2003:i:3:p:87-126. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Kristin Waites)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.