507 research outputs found

    Sorting Out Japan's Financial Crisis

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    This paper makes three contributions. First, I report information on the size of the Japanese financial crisis. Drawing principally on work by Fukao (2003) and Doi and Hoshi (2003) I estimate that the current taxpayer liability for losses incurred but yet to be recognized is likely to be at least 24% of GDP. Second, I explain why it has been so difficult to end the crisis. Third, I sketch the likely ingredients of what will be required to successfully resolve the crisis. The overarching principle is that Japan's banks, insurance companies, and government financial agencies all suffer different problems and require different solutions. But all three sectors are connected, and a failure to tackle concurrently the problems of all three promises to doom any reform plan.

    The Japanese Banking Crisis: Where Did It Come From and How Will It End?

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    We argue that the deregulation leading up to the Big Bang has played a major role in the current banking problems. This deregulation allowed large corporations to quickly switch from depending on banks to relying on capital market financing. We present evidence showing that large Japanese borrowers, particularly manufacturing firms, have already become almost as independent of banks as comparable U.S. firms. The deregulation was much less favorable for savers and consequently they mostly continued turning their money over to the banks. However, banks were also constrained. They were not given authorization to move out of traditional activities into new lines of business. These developments together meant that the banks retained assets and had to search for new borrowers. Their new lending primarily flowed to small businesses and became much more tied to property than in the past. These loans have not fared well during the 1990s. We discuss the size of the current bad loans problem and conclude that it is quite large (on the order of 7% of GDP). Looking ahead, we argue that the Big Bang will correct the aforementioned regulatory imbalances. This will mean that banks will have to fight to retain deposits. More importantly, we expect even more firms to migrate to capital market financing. Using the U.S. borrowing patterns as a guide, we present estimates showing that this impending shift implies a massive contraction in the size of the Japanese banking sector.

    Monetary Policy and Bank Lending

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    This paper surveys recent work that relates to the "lending" view of monetary policy transmission. It has three main goals: 1) to explain why it is important to distinguish between the lending and "money" views of policy transmission; 2) to outline the microeconomic conditions that are needed to generate a lending channel; and 3) to review the empirical evidence that bears on the lending view.

    Stability First: Reflections Inspired by Otmar Issing's Success as the ECB's Chief Economist

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    In this paper, we review Otmar Issing's career as the ECB's inaugural chief economist and we document many notable successes. We try to infer some general principles that contributed to these successes and draw some lessons. In doing so, we review the evidence using Woodford%u2019s (2003) recent revival of the Wicksellian approach to monetary policy making. Suitably interpreted the baseline model can rationalize Issing%u2019s three guiding principles for successful policymaking. This baseline model, however, fails to account for the important role that monetary and financial analysis played in the conduct of policy during Issing%u2019s tenure. We propose an extension of the model to account for financial developments and show that this extended model substantially improves our understanding of ECB practice. We conclude by listing six open questions, relevant for the future of central banking in Europe that Issing may want to consider in case leisure allows.

    Investment Spikes: New Facts and a General Equilibrium Exploration

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    Using plant-level data from Chile and the U.S. we show that investment spikes are highly pro-cyclical, so much so that changes in the number of establishments undergoing investment spikes (the "extensive margin") account for the bulk of variation in aggregate investment. The number of establishments undergoing investment spikes also has independent predictive power for aggregate investment, even controlling for past investment and sales. We re-calibrate the Thomas (2002) model (that includes fixed costs of investing) so that it assigns a prominent role to extensive adjustment. The recalibrated model has different properties than the standard RBC model for some shocks.