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Good Deflation/Bad Deflation and Japanese Economic Recovery

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  • Gary Saxonhouse

Abstract

Many economists dismiss the role of positive supply shocks as a cause of Japan's deflation. Indeed, they attribute the long delay in Japan's recovery to the mistaken view that Japan's deflation reflects an acceleration of technological progress. Whatever the current situation in Japan, however, economic history certainly suggests that technological progress can go hand in hand with general deflation. Conducting a VAR analysis using very detailed information about the components of Japan's consumer price index, this paper finds that short-run shocks to Japan's relative price structure persist in the long run. Given this finding, it is possible to conclude that such shocks are real in origin and reflect technological change. As no effort has yet been completed to show the full extent to which technological change is driving short-run relative price change in Japan compared with other factors, and the full extent to which relative price changes are driving aggregate price change compared with other factors, the policy implications of these findings are unclear. What is clear is that it is a mistake to dismiss out of hand the possibility that technological shocks are playing an important role among other forces in Japan's current deflation.

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  • Gary Saxonhouse, 2005. "Good Deflation/Bad Deflation and Japanese Economic Recovery," Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series d05-104, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  • Handle: RePEc:hst:hstdps:d05-104
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    File URL: http://hi-stat.ier.hit-u.ac.jp/research/discussion/2005/pdf/D05-104.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Balke, Nathan S. & Wynne, Mark A., 2000. "An equilibrium analysis of relative price changes and aggregate inflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 269-292, April.
    2. Michael D. Bordo & John Landon Lane & Angela Redish, 2004. "Good versus Bad Deflation: Lessons from the Gold Standard Era," NBER Working Papers 10329, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Michael F. Bryan & Stephen G. Cecchetti, 1994. "Measuring Core Inflation," NBER Chapters,in: Monetary Policy, pages 195-219 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Laurence Ball & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1995. "Relative-Price Changes as Aggregate Supply Shocks," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(1), pages 161-193.
    5. Robert B. Barsky & Lutz Kilian, 2002. "Do We Really Know that Oil Caused the Great Stagflation? A Monetary Alternative," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2001, Volume 16, pages 137-198 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Gary R. Saxonhouse & Robert M. Stern, 2003. "The Bubble and the Lost Decade," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(3), pages 267-281, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nicolas Canry & Julien Fouquau & Sébastien Lechevalier, 2011. "Sectoral Price Dynamics in Japan: A Threshold Approach," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 31(2), pages 1322-1335.
    2. Nicolas Canry & Julien Fouquau & Sébastien Lechevalier, 2010. "Price Dynamics In Japan (1981-2001): A Structural Analysis Of Mechanisms In The Goods And Labor Markets," Brussels Economic Review, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles, vol. 53(3/4), pages 357-374.
    3. Nicolas Canry & Julien Fouquau & Sébastien Lechevalier, 2010. "Price Dynamics In Japan (1981-2001): A Structural Analysis Of Mechanisms In The Goods And Labor Markets," Brussels Economic Review, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles, vol. 53(3/4), pages 357-374.

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