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Great Inflation and Central Bank Independence in Japan

  • Takatoshi Ito

Japan suffered a very high inflation rate in 1973-74. The CPI inflation rate rose to near 30% in 1974, the highest rate in the postwar Japanese history after the chaotic hyperinflation following the end of the Second World War. Traditionally, the oil crisis is blamed for the 1973-74 high inflation. However, due to monetary policy decisions in 1972-73, the inflation rate had already exceeded 10% before the onset of the oil crisis in October 1973. These decisions include the interest rate cut of June 1972 and the interest rate hike of April 1973, which in retrospect proved too small. Concern about the rapid yen appreciation produced political pressure on the Bank of Japan to continue easing. The Bank of Japan came out of the Great Inflation of 1973 with a stronger voice. The Bank successfully argued that its recommendation to tighten monetary policy should not be overruled or the high inflation would be repeated. By this logic, the Bank of Japan obtained /de facto/ independence after 1975. When faced with the next economic recovery in 1979, again accompanied by oil price increases, the Bank of Japan was able to tighten monetary policy and to contain the inflation rate under 10 percent. The interest rate in the 1972-75 period was well below, by as much as 25 percentage points in 1973, the interest rate suggested by a modified monthly Taylor rule regression.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15726.

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Date of creation: Feb 2010
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Publication status: published as Great Inflation and Central Bank Independence in Japan , Takatoshi Ito. in The Great Inflation: The Rebirth of Modern Central Banking , Bordo and Orphanides. 2013
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15726
Note: EFG IFM ME
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  1. Takatoshi Ito & Kunio Okina & Juro Teranishi, 1988. "News and the Dollar/Yen Exchange Rate, 1931-1933: The End of the Gold Standard, Imperialism, and the Great Depression," NBER Working Papers 2683, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Athanasios Orphanides, 1998. "Monetary policy evaluation with noisy information," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1998-50, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  3. Ito, Takatoshi & Rose, Andrew K. (ed.), 2006. "Monetary Policy with Very Low Inflation in the Pacific Rim," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 0, number 9780226378978, April.
  4. Takatoshi Ito & Andrew K. Rose, 2006. "Introduction to EASE-15: Monetary Policy with Very Low Inflation in the Pacific Rim," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Policy with Very Low Inflation in the Pacific Rim, NBER-EASE, Volume 15, pages 1-6 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Richard H. Clarida & Jordi Gali & Mark Gertler, 1998. "Monetary policy rules in practice," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Mar.
  6. Okina, Kunio & Shiratsuka, Shigenori, 2004. "Policy commitment and expectation formation: Japan's experience under zero interest rates," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 75-100, March.
  7. John B. Taylor, 1999. "A Historical Analysis of Monetary Policy Rules," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Policy Rules, pages 319-348 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Ito, Takatoshi, 1997. "The Long-Run Purchasing Power Parity for the Yen: Historical Overview," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 502-521, December.
  9. Nelson, Edward, 2007. "The Great Inflation and Early Disinflation in Japan and Germany," CEPR Discussion Papers 6156, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Oi, Hiroyuki & Shiratsuka, Shigenori & Shirota, Toyoichiro, 2004. "On Long-Run Monetary Neutrality in Japan," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 22(3), pages 79-113, October.
  11. Clarida, Richard & GalĂ­, Jordi & Gertler, Mark, 1997. "Monetary Policy Rules in Practice: Some International Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 1750, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Thomas F. Cargill & Michael M. Hutchison & Takatoshi Ito, 1997. "The Political Economy of Japanese Monetary Policy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262032473.
  13. Takatoshi Ito, 1989. "Is the Bank of Japan a Closet Monetarist? Monetary Targeting in Japan, 1978-1988," NBER Working Papers 2879, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Robert L. Hetzel, 1999. "Japanese monetary policy: a quantity theory perspective," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Win, pages 1-26.
  15. Thomas F. Cargill & Michael M. Hutchison & Takatoshi Ito, 2001. "Financial Policy and Central Banking in Japan," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262032856.
  16. Shizume, Masato, 2002. "Economic Developments and Monetary Policy Responses in Interwar Japan: Evaluation Based on the Taylor Rule," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 20(3), pages 77-116, October.
  17. Takatoshi Ito & Andrew K. Rose, 2006. "Monetary Policy with Very Low Inflation in the Pacific Rim, NBER-EASE, Volume 15," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number ito_06-1.
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