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Passive Savers and Fiscal Policy Effectiveness in Japan

Author

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  • Kenneth N. Kuttner

    () (Federal Reserve Bank of New York)

  • Adam S. Posen

    () (Peterson Institute for International Economics)

Abstract

The efficacy of fiscal policy in Japan in the last decade has been a subject of considerable dispute, and the coincidence of mounting deficits and continued stagnation has led some to conclude that fiscal policy was ineffective. This paper finds ample support for the opposite conclusion: exogenous fiscal policy shocks (as derived from a structural vector-autoregression model) had pronounced real effects in Japan. Expansionary fiscal policy was expansionary, and contractionary policy contractionary, consistent with the implications of conventional macroeconomic theory. A historical decomposition shows that Japan's burgeoning public debt stems almost entirely from the recession-caused slowdown in revenue growth, and that fiscal policy was at times procyclical rather than consistently expansionary. Direct examination of the long-run relationship between private saving, taxes, and spending confirms that any Ricardian effects of future public liabilities on saving were insufficient to offset the direct first-order effects of taxes and public expenditures. The passivity of Japanese savers therefore seems to have contributed to the efficacy of fiscal policy; otherwise, some combination of increased saving, capital outflow, and higher interest rates would have diminished its impact.

Suggested Citation

  • Kenneth N. Kuttner & Adam S. Posen, 2002. "Passive Savers and Fiscal Policy Effectiveness in Japan," Working Paper Series WP02-2, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:iie:wpaper:wp02-2
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:reecon:v:71:y:2017:i:3:p:411-421 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. W. R. Garside, 2012. "Japan’s Great Stagnation," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 14624.
    3. Morana, Claudio, 2004. "The Japanese stagnation: an assessment of the productivity slowdown hypothesis," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 193-211, April.
    4. Evans, George W. & Guse, Eran & Honkapohja, Seppo, 2008. "Liquidity traps, learning and stagnation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(8), pages 1438-1463, November.
    5. Heshmati, Almas & Kim, Jungsuk, 2014. "A Survey of the Role of Fiscal Policy in Addressing Income Inequality, Poverty Reduction and Inclusive Growth," IZA Discussion Papers 8119, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Davide Porcellacchia, 2016. "Wage-Price Dynamics and Structural Reforms in Japan," IMF Working Papers 16/20, International Monetary Fund.
    7. Miyagawa, Tsutomu & Ito, Yukiko & Harada, Nobuyuki, 2004. "The IT revolution and productivity growth in Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 362-389, September.
    8. Rosaria Rita Canale & Pasquale Foresti & Ugo Marani & Oreste Napolitano, 2008. "On keynesian effects of (apparent) non-keynesian fiscal policies," Politica economica, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 1, pages 5-46.
    9. Kiichi Tokuoka & Murtaza H Syed & Kenneth H Kang, 2009. "“Lost Decade” in Translation - What Japan’s Crisis could Portend about Recovery from the Great Recession," IMF Working Papers 09/282, International Monetary Fund.
    10. Francesco Caprioli & Sandro Momigliano, 2011. "The effects of fiscal shocks with debt-stabilizing budgetary policies in Italy," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 839, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    11. Auerbach, Alan J. & Gorodnichenko, Yuriy, 2017. "Fiscal multipliers in Japan," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 411-421.
    12. Kato, Ryuta Ray & Miyamoto, Hiroaki, 2013. "Fiscal stimulus and labor market dynamics in Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 33-58.
    13. Sylvain Leduc & Daniel J. Wilson, 2012. "Should transportation spending be included in a stimulus program? a review of the literature," Working Paper Series 2012-15, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    14. Ryuta Ray Kato & Hiroaki Miyamoto, 2015. "Effects of Fiscal Stimulus on the Labor Market," Public Policy Review, Policy Research Institute, Ministry of Finance Japan, vol. 11(2), pages 277-302, March.
    15. Heshmati, Almas & Kim, Jungsuk & Park, Donghyun, 2014. "Fiscal Policy and Inclusive Growth in Advanced Countries: Their Experience and Implications for Asia," ADB Economics Working Paper Series 422, Asian Development Bank.
    16. George W. Evans, 2008. "Monetary and Fiscal Policy under Learning in the Presence of a Liquidity Trap," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 26, pages 59-86, December.
    17. Inoue, Tomoo & Okimoto, Tatsuyoshi, 2008. "Were there structural breaks in the effects of Japanese monetary policy? Re-evaluating policy effects of the lost decade," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 320-342, September.
    18. Goran Petrevski & Jane Bogoev & Dragan Tevdovski, 2016. "Fiscal and monetary policy effects in three South Eastern European economies," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 50(2), pages 415-441, March.
    19. repec:bla:jecrev:v:68:y:2017:i:3:p:364-393 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fiscal Policy; Japan; Ricardian Equivalence; Budget Deficits;

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt

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