Taming Japan's Deflation
The Debate over Unconventional Monetary Policy
Bolder economic policy could have addressed the persistent bouts of deflation in post-bubble Japan, write Gene Park, Saori N. Katada, Giacomo Chiozza, and Yoshiko Kojo in Taming Japan's Deflation. Despite warnings from economists, intense political pressure, and well-articulated unconventional policy options to address this problem, Japan's central bank, the Bank of Japan (BOJ), resisted taking the bold actions that the authors believe would have significantly helped.
With Prime Minister Abe Shinzo's return to power, Japan finally shifted course at the start of 2013 with the launch of Abenomics—an economic agenda to reflate the economy—and Abe's appointment of new leadership at the BOJ. As Taming Japan's Deflation shows, the BOJ's resistance to experimenting with bolder policy stemmed from entrenched policy ideas that were hostile to activist monetary policy. The authors explain how these policy ideas evolved over the course of the BOJ's long history and gained dominance because of the closed nature of the broader policy network.
The explanatory power of policy ideas and networks suggests a basic inadequacy in the dominant framework for analysis of
Giacomo Chiozza is an expert in world politics and statistical modeling, and coauthor, most recently, of Leaders and International Conflict. He is Associate Professor in the Department of International Studies at the American University of Sharjah.