Japan went 15 years earlier than Europe through a boom-and-bust cycle in the real estate and stock markets. The country has made important experience with crisis therapies in form of monetary expansion, Keynesian fiscal stimulus and recapitalization of financial institutions. Japan has reached the zero interest bound in 1999 and has accumulated a very high public debt level. The paper compares the boom-and-bust cycles in Japan and Europe with respect to the reasons for the boom, the characteristics of the crises, and the (potential) effects of the crisis therapies. It is argued that the consequence of expansionary monetary and fiscal policies is the hysteresis of the zero-interest rate and high debt trap, the erosion of the allocation and signaling function of the interest rate, the gradual nationalization of the financial sector and aggregate demand, as well as gradual real income losses. The economic policy implication for Europe and Japan is the timely exit from crisis therapies in form of expansionary monetary and fiscal policies despite high adjustment costs.
Journal for Economic Policy is published on behalf of the Institute for Economic Policy at the University of Cologne. The Journal is open to publications from all areas of economics. Articles regarding current questions of German, European or international economic policy are preferred. At the center of each issue is the economic policy forum. It deals with topics, which are controversially discussed among the general public.
20 Apr 1981
Juergen B. Donges, Michael Krause, Steffen J. Roth and Christian Watrin