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Is Shutting Krugman's Liquidity Trap the Answer to Japan's Problems?

  • Dominic Wilson
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    Paul Krugman has argued that the primary source of Japan’s current problems is that the economy faces a liquidity trap. According to Krugman, this has occurred because Japan confronts negative equilibrium real interest rates for a substantial period. To escape the trap, the Bank of Japan must generate inflationary expectations. This paper extends Krugman’s argument to consider the impact of demographic change on savings and investment and finds that Japan’s equilibrium real interest rate is unlikely to be negative for any considerable period. It argues instead that real forces, particularly productivity shocks and the problems of reallocating resources in their wake, are important contributors to Japan’s predicament. Consequently, simply generating inflation may not deliver sustained improvements in the macroeconomic situation. Successful reform, particularly to the banking sector, may be more important to a sustained recovery.

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    File URL: https://crawford.anu.edu.au/pdf/pep/pep-297.pdf
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    Paper provided by Australia-Japan Research Centre, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University in its series Asia Pacific Economic Papers with number 297.

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    Length: 34 pages
    Date of creation: Nov 1999
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:csg:ajrcau:297
    Contact details of provider: Postal: Canberra ACT 2601
    Phone: (61-2) 6249 3780
    Fax: (61-2) 6249 3941
    Web page: https://crawford.anu.edu.au/research_units/ajrc/
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    1. Jeffrey D. Sachs, 1981. "The Current Account and macroeconomic Adjustment in the 1970s," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 12(1), pages 201-282.
    2. Bee Yan Aw & Xiaomin Chen & Mark J. Roberts, 1997. "Firm-level Evidence on Productivity Differentials, Turnover, and Exports in Taiwanese Manufacturing," NBER Working Papers 6235, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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