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Could Japan Target the Price Level or Inflation - What Happens to Monetary Policy Effectiveness during Disinflation?

Listed author(s):
  • Aaron MEHROTRA

The aim of this paper is to study whether price level or inflation targeting would be appropriate monetary policy regimes for Japan. A necessary condition for such regimes is that the rate of interest remain a positive tool of monetary policy. Using VAR and SVAR approaches, we investigate whether changes in the real ex ante and the nominal interest rate are able to stimulate an economy with a low inflation rate or deflation. Both with perfect foresight and using backward-looking schemes to predict the future price level, monetary policy remains potent even with declining inflation rates. This is confirmed by the stability of the estimated system throughout the examination period. A tax on currency, or ’Gesell money’ would be a possible alternative for Japan in order to lower the zero interest rate floor. We also find that monetary expansion in terms of broad money, broadly defined liquidity and M2+CDs, can bring Japan back to positive inflation rates. This must be supported by a higher interest rate differential between components of broad and narrow money. Moreover, expansion of direct funding in terms of corporate bonds could be beneficial for output growth while the non-performing loans problem in the economy is being tackled. Importantly, these results indicate that monetary policy alone is not able to pull Japan out of deflation and that fiscal measures need to be implemented in unison with monetary policy.

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Paper provided by European University Institute in its series Economics Working Papers with number ECO2004/02.

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Date of creation: 2004
Handle: RePEc:eui:euiwps:eco2004/02
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  1. Lars E. O. Svensson, 1996. "Price Level Targeting vs. Inflation Targeting: A Free Lunch?," NBER Working Papers 5719, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Koichiro Kamada & Ichiro Muto, 2000. "Forward-looking Models and Monetary Policy in Japan," Bank of Japan Working Paper Series Research and Statistics D, Bank of Japan.
  3. Svensson, Lars-E-O, 2001. "The Zero Bound in an Open Economy: A Foolproof Way of Escaping from a Liquidity Trap," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 19(S1), pages 277-312, February.
  4. Willem H. Buiter & Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, 2003. "Overcoming the zero bound on nominal interest rates with negative interest on currency: gesell's solution," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(490), pages 723-746, October.
  5. Saikkonen, Pentti & L tkepohl, Helmut, 2000. "Testing For The Cointegrating Rank Of A Var Process With An Intercept," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(03), pages 373-406, June.
  6. Bernanke, Ben & Gertler, Mark & Gilchrist, Simon, 1996. "The Financial Accelerator and the Flight to Quality," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(1), pages 1-15, February.
  7. N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis, 2002. "Sticky Information versus Sticky Prices: A Proposal to Replace the New Keynesian Phillips Curve," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1295-1328.
  8. Kwiatkowski, Denis & Phillips, Peter C. B. & Schmidt, Peter & Shin, Yongcheol, 1992. "Testing the null hypothesis of stationarity against the alternative of a unit root : How sure are we that economic time series have a unit root?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1-3), pages 159-178.
  9. By James Morsink & Tamim Bayoumi, 2001. "A Peek Inside the Black Box: The Monetary Transmission Mechanism in Japan," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 48(1), pages 1-2.
  10. Kasa, Ken & Popper, Helen, 1997. "Monetary Policy in Japan: A Structural VAR Analysis," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 275-295, September.
  11. Coenen, Gunter & Wieland, Volker, 2003. "The zero-interest-rate bound and the role of the exchange rate for monetary policy in Japan," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(5), pages 1071-1101, July.
  12. Smets, Frank, 2000. "What horizon for price stability," Working Paper Series 0024, European Central Bank.
  13. Saikkonen, Pentti & Lutkepohl, Helmut, 2000. "Testing for the Cointegrating Rank of a VAR Process with Structural Shifts," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 18(4), pages 451-464, October.
  14. McCallum, Bennett T & Nelson, Edward, 1999. "An Optimizing IS-LM Specification for Monetary Policy and Business Cycle Analysis," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 31(3), pages 296-316, August.
  15. Eric M. Leeper & Christopher A. Sims & Tao Zha, 1996. "What Does Monetary Policy Do?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 27(2), pages 1-78.
  16. David Woo, 1999. "In Search of "Capital Crunch"; Supply Factors Behind the Credit Slowdown in Japan," IMF Working Papers 99/3, International Monetary Fund.
  17. Shinobu Nakagawa & Kazuo Oshima, 2000. "Does a Decrease in the Real Interest Rate Actually Stimulate Personal Consumption? - An Empirical Study -," Bank of Japan Working Paper Series Research and Statistics D, Bank of Japan.
  18. Vitor Gaspar & Frank Smets, 2000. "Price Level Stability: Some Issues," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 174(1), pages 68-79, October.
  19. Lutkepohl, Helmut & Saikkonen, Pentti, 2000. "Testing for the cointegrating rank of a VAR process with a time trend," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1), pages 177-198, March.
  20. repec:sae:niesru:v:174:y::i:1:p:68-79 is not listed on IDEAS
  21. Miyao, Ryuzo, 2000. "The Role of Monetary Policy in Japan: A Break in the 1990s?," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 366-384, December.
  22. Jeffrey C. Fuhrer, 2000. "Habit Formation in Consumption and Its Implications for Monetary-Policy Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 367-390, June.
  23. Favero, Carlo A., 2001. "Applied Macroeconometrics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198296850, April.
  24. Miyao, Ryuzo, 2002. "The Effects of Monetary Policy in Japan," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 34(2), pages 376-392, May.
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