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Japan's Negative Risk Premium in Interest Rates: The Liquidity Trap and Fall in Bank Lending

  • Rishi Goyal
  • Ronald McKinnon

May 2002 Japan's interest rates have been compressed toward zero because of pressure coming through the foreign exchanges. Twenty years of current account surpluses have led to a huge build up of claims – mainly dollars – on foreigners. Because of ongoing fluctuations in the yen/dollar exchange rate, Japanese financial institutions will only willingly hold these dollar claims if the nominal yield on them is substantially higher than on yen assets. In the 1990s to 2002 as U.S. interest rates have come down, portfolio equilibrium has been sustained only when nominal interest rates on yen assets have been forced toward zero. One consequence is the now infamous liquidity trap for Japanese monetary policy. A second consequence is the erosion of the normal profit margins of Japan's commercial bank leading to a slump in new bank credit and an inability to grow out of the overhang of old bad loans. Working Papers Index

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Paper provided by Stanford University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 02006.

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Date of creation: May 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wop:stanec:02006
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  1. Philip R. Lane & Gian-Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 2001. "Long-Term Capital Movements," IMF Working Papers 01/107, International Monetary Fund.
    • Philip R. Lane & Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 2002. "Long-Term Capital Movements," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2001, Volume 16, pages 73-136 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Masaaki Shirakawa, 2001. "Monetary Policy Under the Zero Interest Rate Constraint and Balance Sheet Adjustment," Bank of Japan Research Papers 2001-05, Bank of Japan.
  3. Svensson, Lars-E-O, 2001. "The Zero Bound in an Open Economy: A Foolproof Way of Escaping from a Liquidity Trap," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 19(S1), pages 277-312, February.
  4. Ronald McKinnon & Kenichi Ohno, 2001. "The Foreign Exchange Origins of Japan's Economic Slump and Low Interest Liquidity Trap," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 24(3), pages 279-315, 03.
  5. Ronald I. McKinnon & Kenichi Ohno, 1997. "Dollar and Yen: Resolving Economic Conflict between the United States and Japan," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262133350, June.
  6. Shirakawa, Masaaki, 2001. "Monetary Policy Under the Zero Interest Rate Constraint and Balance Sheet Adjustment," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(3), pages 463-89, Winter.
  7. Paul R. Krugman, 1998. "It's Baaack: Japan's Slump and the Return of the Liquidity Trap," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(2), pages 137-206.
  8. Yoshikawa, Hiroshi, 1990. "On the Equilibrium Yen-Dollar Rate," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 576-83, June.
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