Discussion Paper Series 2004-E-19

Asset Price Fluctuations, Structural Adjustments,
and Sustained Economic Growth:
Lessons from Japan's Experience since the Late 1980s

Kunio Okina, Shigenori Shiratsuka

In this paper, we examine implications of asset price fluctuations and resultant structural adjustments on sustained economic growth, based on Japan's experience since the latter half of the 1980s. In doing so, we offer the view that the protracted economic stagnation in Japan can be seen as a result of the incomplete economic adjustments to significant changes in relative prices, in part triggered by the bursting of the asset price bubble. Such changes in relative prices include movements in both intertemporal and cross-sectional dimensions, which interacted crucially to lower the economy's trend growth. This aspect of Japan's asset price bubble, with its consequences for structural adjustments since the 1990s, is important because it illustrates the specific environment in which the Bank of Japan has to conduct monetary policy: namely, not a standard stabilization policy around a stable growth trend. Rather, it has operated in an environment of unanswered policy management questions coupled with hampered sustained growth.

Keywords: Asset price bubble, Relative price changes, Structural adjustments, Productivity growth

Views expressed in the paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Bank of Japan or Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies.

Copyright © 2004 Bank of Japan All Rights Reserved.

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