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Explaining Japan's Unproductive Two Decades

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  • FUKAO Kyoji

Abstract

Using industry- and micro-level data, this paper examines why Japan's productivity growth has been slow for such a long time and how it can be accelerated in the future. Japan's capital-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio continued to increase after 1991, which must have contributed to the decline in the rate of return on capital in Japan by decreasing the marginal productivity of capital. On the other hand, accumulation of information and communications technology (ICT) capital and intangible investment in Japan was very slow. Compared with large firms, which enjoyed an acceleration in total factor productivity (TFP) growth in recent years, Japanese small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) were left behind in ICT capital and intangible investment, and their productivity growth has been very low. Furthermore, as large firms expanded their supply chains globally and relocated their factories abroad, research and development (R&D) spillovers from large firms to SMEs seem to have declined.

Suggested Citation

  • FUKAO Kyoji, 2013. "Explaining Japan's Unproductive Two Decades," Policy Discussion Papers 13021, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
  • Handle: RePEc:eti:polidp:13021
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    Cited by:

    1. Sébastien Lechevalier & Pauline Debanes & Shin Wonkyu, 2016. "Financialization and industrial policies in Japan and Korea: Evolving complementarities and loss of institutional capabilities," Working Papers halshs-01431783, HAL.
    2. Jong-Wha Lee, 2013. "Comment on “Explaining Japan's Unproductive Two Decades”," Asian Economic Policy Review, Japan Center for Economic Research, vol. 8(2), pages 214-215, December.
    3. Jetpan Wetwitoo & Hironori Kato, 2017. "Inter-regional transportation and economic productivity: a case study of regional agglomeration economies in Japan," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 59(2), pages 321-344, September.
    4. Kyoji FUKAO & Taisuke KAMEDA & Kota NAKAMURA & Ryoichi NAMBA & Masahiro SATO, 2017. "Measurement of Deflators and Real Value Added in the Service Sector," Economic Analysis, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), vol. 194, pages 9-44, May.
    5. Marcus Noland, 2013. "Comment on “Explaining Japan's Unproductive Two Decades”," Asian Economic Policy Review, Japan Center for Economic Research, vol. 8(2), pages 216-217, December.
    6. W Max Corden & Sisira Jayasuriya, 2016. "The Japanese macroeconomic mystery," Departmental Working Papers 2016-03, The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics.
    7. Lechevalier, Sébastien & Debanes, Pauline & Shin, Wonkyu, 2019. "Financialization and industrial policies in Japan and Korea: Evolving institutional complementarities and loss of state capabilities," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 69-85.
    8. Jun-Ichi Nakamura & Shin-Ichi Fukuda, 2013. "What Happened To "Zombie" Firms In Japan?: Reexamination For The Lost Two Decades," Global Journal of Economics (GJE), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 2(02), pages 1-18.
    9. Takatoshi Ito & Kazumasa Iwata & Colin McKenzie & Shujiro Urata, 2013. "Japan at the Crosswords: Editors' Overview," Asian Economic Policy Review, Japan Center for Economic Research, vol. 8(2), pages 169-192, December.
    10. Piotr Ciżkowicz & Andrzej Rzońca & Andrzej Torój, 2019. "In Search of an Appropriate Lower Bound. The Zero Lower Bound vs. the Positive Lower Bound under Discretion and Commitment," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 20(4), pages 1028-1053, November.
    11. Fukao, Kyoji, 2017. "Secular Stagnation and the Labor Market in Japan," SSPJ Discussion Paper Series DP17-2, Service Sector Productivity in Japan: Determinants and Policies, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    12. Marcus Noland, 2018. "Comment on “Has Abenomics Succeeded in Raising Japan's Inward Foreign Direct Investment?â€," Asian Economic Policy Review, Japan Center for Economic Research, vol. 13(1), pages 169-170, January.
    13. Galina Besstremyannaya & Richard Dasher & Sergei Golovan, 2018. "Growth through acquisition of innovations," Working Papers w0247, New Economic School (NES).
    14. Randall Jones & Yosuke Jin, 2017. "Boosting productivity for inclusive growth in Japan," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1414, OECD Publishing.
    15. Dale W. JORGENSON & NOMURA Koji & Jon D. SAMUELS, 2015. "A Half Century of Trans-Pacific Competition: Price level indices and productivity gaps for Japanese and U.S. industries, 1955-2012," Discussion papers 15054, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    16. Galina Besstremyannaya & Richard Dasher & Sergei Golovan, 2019. "Growth through acquisition of innovations," Working Papers w0247, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
    17. FUKAO Kyoji & IKEUCHI Kenta & KWON Hyeog Ug & YoungGak KIM & MAKINO Tatsuji & TAKIZAWA Miho, 2015. "Lessons from Japan's Secular Stagnation," Discussion papers 15124, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).

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