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Inefficiency of Corporate Investment and Distortion of Savings Behavior in Japan

In: Structural Impediments to Growth in Japan

Author

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  • Albert Ando
  • Dimitrios Christelis
  • Tsutomu Miyagawa

Abstract

The value of corporate equity in Japan is dramatically smaller than that implied by the sum of the reproduction cost of accumulated investment and the market value of land owned by corporations (that is, the Tobin's average 'q' is much smaller than unity). This discrepancy appears to result from the very low rate of return earned on corporate investment and also from the extraordinarily small and stagnant dividend payments. It has persisted at least since l965, and its size has become progressively larger over time. If the value of corporate equity were sufficiently high to close the discrepancy, the net worth of the household sector would have been larger than its actual value by some 395 trillion yen in l998. Such an addition to household net worth would have generated additional consumption demand of at least 15 trillion yen. This paper traces the development of this valuation discrepancy over time, and explores its possible causes. In the process, we prepare an alternative estimate of the capital stock and its depreciation to those offered in the National Accounts. The basic difference is that the depreciation rates underlying our calculations are substantially lower than those used in the Japanese National Accounts, and closer to values prevailing in the United States. The qualitative characteristics of our results, however, remain unaffected by the choice between these alternative estimates.
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Suggested Citation

  • Albert Ando & Dimitrios Christelis & Tsutomu Miyagawa, 2003. "Inefficiency of Corporate Investment and Distortion of Savings Behavior in Japan," NBER Chapters,in: Structural Impediments to Growth in Japan, pages 155-190 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:9575
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Albert Ando & John Hancock & Gary Sawchuk, 1997. "Cost of Capital for the United States, Japan, and Canada: An Attempt at Measurement Based on Individual Company Records and Aggregate National Acccoun," NBER Working Papers 5884, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Hoshi, Takeo & Kashyap, Anil K., 1990. "Evidence on q and investment for Japanese firms," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 371-400, December.
    3. Hayashi, Fumio & Inoue, Tohru, 1991. "The Relation between Firm Growth and Q with Multiple Capital Goods: Theory and Evidence from Panel Data on Japanese Firms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(3), pages 731-753, May.
    4. Ando, Albert, 2002. "Missing Household Saving and Valuation of Corporations: Inquiry into Japanese National Accounts I," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 147-176, June.
    5. Fumio Hayashi, 1989. "Is Japan's saving rate high?," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Spr, pages 3-9.
    6. Dekle, Robert, 1994. "Market value estimates of Japanese saving and comparisons with the U.S.: can the capital gains to land be included in 'saving?'," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 27-44.
    7. Ogawa, Kazuo & Kitasaka, Shin-ichi & Yamaoka, Hiroshi & Iwata, Yasuharu, 1996. "An empirical re-evaluation of wealth effect in Japanese household behavior," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 423-442, December.
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    Citations

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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. Hiroki Arato & Katsunori Yamada, 2012. "Japan's Intangible Capital and Valuation of Corporations in a Neoclassical Framework," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 15(4), pages 459-478, October.
    3. Nobuhiro Kiyotaki & Kenneth D. West, 2006. "Land Prices and Business Fixed Investment in Japan," Chapters,in: Long-run Growth and Short-run Stabilization, chapter 12 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Horioka, Charles Yuji, 2006. "The causes of Japan's `lost decade': The role of household consumption," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 378-400, December.
    5. Yishay Yafeh, 2002. "An International Perspective of Japan's Corporate Groups and their Prospects," NBER Working Papers 9386, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Nakajima, Tomoyuki, 2008. "Asset price fluctuations in Japan: 1980-2000," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 129-153, January.
    7. W Max Corden & Sisira Jayasuriya, 2016. "The Japanese macroeconomic mystery," Departmental Working Papers 2016-03, The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics.
    8. MIYAGAWA Tsutomu & TAKIZAWA Miho & TONOGI Konomi, 2016. "Declining Rate of Return on Capital and the Role of Intangibles in Japan," Discussion papers 16051, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    9. Nakajima, Tomoyuki, 2008. "Asset price fluctuations in Japan: 1980-2000," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 129-153, January.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity

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