Discussion Paper Series 2011-E-16

Accounting for the Decline in the Velocity of Money in the Japanese Economy

Nao Sudo

A notable feature of the Japanese economy following the banking crisis of the late 1990s is the drastic decline in the velocity of money and the consequent decline in the price level. Based on the inventory model of money demand à la Alvarez, Atkeson, and Edmond (2009), we explore how macroeconomic shocks affect the velocity. Households in the model are subject to a multiple-period cash-in-advance constraint in which the portion of the payment in cash, which we call the liquidity requirement, varies according to the credit service supply in the economy. Extracting various shocks underlying the velocity variations from 1990 to 2010, we find that an increase in the liquidity requirement is the key driver of the decline in velocity. Particularly important is the channel stemming from households’ expectations about the future liquidity requirement. During the Japanese banking crisis and the global financial crisis, credit service is disrupted and households expect the disruption to last long. Since they demand additional money for a higher liquidity requirement for current and future transactions, the velocity and the price level decrease, even though the growth rate of money stock then exceeds that of consumption.

Keywords: Velocity of Money; Liquidity Requirement; Financial Crises

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 © 2011 Bank of Japan All Rights Reserved.

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