Japan’s deflation problem is overdetermined – there are multiple causes at work, any one of which could account for the observed phenomenon. Those who have been following the debate can simply choose their favourite – balance sheet recession, liquidity trap, fertility trap – each one, taken alone, could be sufficient as a cause. But I would here like to use the term “overdetermination” in another, less technical, sense, since it seems to me Japan’s problem set is overdetermined in that we always seem to be facing at least one more problem than we have remedies at hand.Read more ›
Post Tagged with: "government debt"
We appear to be on the cusp of a more serious crisis in Argentina, as things are moving from bad to worse. Spot ARS has dropped as much as 20% earlier today, while the implied “blue chip” FX rate has fallen nearly 10% over the past two days. The central bank does not appear to be intervening by selling dollars, […]Read more ›
My view remains that Europe is in an incipient but unstable recovery vulnerable to exogenous shocks. However, I do not believe this recovery means that crisis is over. Rather, this is a lull before continued stagnation forces Europe to make hard policy choices about who actually remains in the euro over the long-term.Read more ›
This column argues that the legacy of public debt resulting from the crisis in the Eurozone is a serious threat. Both the size of the problem and the options to address it make life much more difficult for policymakers than was the case in the late 1930s after the collapse of the gold standard. For some countries, a ‘subservient’ central bank might be preferable to the ECB.Read more ›
Private and public debt in the Eurozone increased since the 2000s, and especially so in certain countries. This column presents evidence that high levels of private and public debt, together with deleveraging of all sectors, are especially harmful for economic growth. Private sector debt is more detrimental to growth than public sector debt. Therefore, policies aimed at reducing the private debt could yield important benefits.Read more ›
Newman: “in my own book the explanation starts the cycle with government spending, thus adding to the money supply, and then issuing treasuries for roughly equivalent amount. The bond vigilantes really have it backwards.Read more ›
I have been arguing for several years that once China begins the adjustment process, which I expect to characterize the ten-year period of the current administration, growth rates must slow significantly. My expectation for long-term growth is that it shouldn’t average much above 3-4% annually. This is what it will take for household consumption to rise to roughly 50% of GDP in a decade if consumption growth can be maintained at its historic rates of around 8%.
But I always warn that this is likely to be an upper limit, not a lower limit, to growth The key is whether or not it is possible to maintain current levels of consumption growth once investment growth is sharply reduced. A recent paper by the IMF on the topic is very interesting and not encouraging.Read more ›
Japan is stuck in a shrinking population trap, and neither monetary nor fiscal policy will adequately solve the problem. Continuing to run fiscal deficits in a deflationary environment will only means that government debt is pushed onward and upwards leading to a variety of possible scenarios as to what the end game will finally be. Reining in the deficit, by raising consumption tax, for example, will probably only make deflation worse with a one year time lag, as happened in 1997, and will almost certainly force the economy into more economic shrinkage which in any event makes the debt issue worse.Read more ›