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Monetary and Fiscal Policy in a Liquidity Trap: The Japanese Experience 1999-2004

  • Mitsuru Iwamara
  • Takeshi Kudo
  • Tsutomu Watanabe
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    We characterize monetary and fiscal policy rules to implement optimal responses to a substantial decline in the natural rate of interest, and compare them with policy decisions made by the Japanese central bank and government in 1999-2004. First, we find that the Bank of Japan's policy commitment to continuing monetary easing until some prespecified conditions are satisfied lacks history dependence, a key feature of the optimal monetary policy rule. Second, the term structure of the interest rate gap (the spread between the actual real interest rate and its natural rate counterpart) was not downward sloping, indicating that the Bank of Japan's commitment failed to have su.cient influence on the market's expectations about the future course of monetary policy. Third, we find that the primary surplus in 1999-2004 was higher than predicted by the historical regularity, implying that the Japanese government deviated from the Ricardian rule toward fiscal tightening. These findings suggest that inappropriate conduct of monetary and fiscal policy during this period delayed the timing to escape from the liquidity trap.

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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w11151.pdf
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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11151.

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    Date of creation: Feb 2005
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    Publication status: published as Mitsuru Iwamura & Takeshi Kudo & Tsutomu Watanabe, 2005. "Monetary and fiscal policy in a liquidity trap: the Japanese experience 1999-2004," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Special Issue.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11151
    Note: ME
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