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Economic Fluctuations in Japan during the Interwar Period -- Re- estimations of the LTES Personal

  • Kiyohito Utsunomiya

    (Senior Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan (E-mail:

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    To date, most research on Interwar Period economic fluctuations in Japan has been based on Estimates of Long-term Economic Statistics of Japan (LTES), edited by Kazushi Ohkawa et al. Regardless, the LTES data are just one set of estimations. They require scrutiny, especially for the measurement of personal consumption, which has a high weight in GNE. This paper re-estimates the LTES personal consumption expenditures by adjusting the estimation methods for certain expense categories and deducting imputations (which may have a large measurement error), and then calculates real GDP (adjusted real GDP) focusing on the market economy. The re-estimation presents no major changes from the LTES in the shape of the economic fluctuations of the 1920s, when the Japanese economy continuously posted gunbalanced growth.h From the Showa Depression forward, however, while the LTES shows continued positive real GDP growth, the re-estimation indicates negative growth in adjusted real GDP in 1931. These findings remain robust after considering the bias from the deflator formula. Given the characteristics of national accounts and the measurement error, these re-estimation results suggest that the severity of the Showa Depression may have been underestimated in the prior research.

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    Paper provided by Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan in its series IMES Discussion Paper Series with number 08-E-06.

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    Date of creation: Apr 2008
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ime:imedps:08-e-06
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