Balance Sheet Recession: Japan's Struggle with Uncharted Economics and its Global Implications

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In this groundbreaking book, leading international economist, Richard Koo argues that far from being the sick man of Asia, Japan is suffering from a temporary but highly unusual economic aberration.

Economists and business commentators have always assumed that the majority of companies in any economy are forward looking and are trying to maximize profits. They never considered the possibility that a vast majority of companies may be placing their highest priorities on minimizing...

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Overview

In this groundbreaking book, leading international economist, Richard Koo argues that far from being the sick man of Asia, Japan is suffering from a temporary but highly unusual economic aberration.

Economists and business commentators have always assumed that the majority of companies in any economy are forward looking and are trying to maximize profits. They never considered the possibility that a vast majority of companies may be placing their highest priorities on minimizing debt in order to repair their balance sheets. But that remote possibility has been the reality in Japan for the past decade, and more recently in many other countries including at least a part of the US.

Balance Sheet Recession argues that contrary to popular belief, it is this massive shift in corporate behavior, instead of structural problems, that is the root cause of both the deflation and the non-performing loan problems that have troubled Japan for so long. It argues that when the causality runs from the corporate balance sheet problems to deflation and banking problems, a highly unconventional policy response is needed to stabilize the economy. After all, the last time anything similar has happened was the 1930s in the US.

Richard Koo's experience in dealing with both the US banking crisis of the early 1980s and the Japanese balance sheet and banking problems of the last ten years makes him unique qualified to comment on this situation. He clearly explains how such a recession can happen in any economy following an asset price bubble, and how best to deal with it.

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Editorial Reviews

Foreign Affairs
The poor performance of the Japanese economy is troubling for Japanese and foreigners alike. Koo, an economist at the Nomura Research Institute, advances a clear, plausible explanation for Japan's lackluster performance since 1990: excessive corporate debt and the resulting preoccupation with paying down debt to improve corporate balance sheets and reluctance to borrow for new investment. In Koo's view, the correction of this imbalance still has time to run, so the Japanese government should relax regulation, particularly of land use and construction contracts, and end archaic practices that have prolonged the stagnation by stifling both investment and household consumption. Koo also offers illuminating discussion of aspects of the Japanese economy not often evident to nonresidents — such as how heavy weekend traffic combines with corporate pressure to give up paid vacation time to discourage the purchase of second homes.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470821169
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/23/2003
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 6.88 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.32 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard C. Koo is the Chief Economist of Nomura Research Institute, the research arm of Nomura Securities, the leading securities house in Japan. Consistently voted as one of the most reliable economists by Japanese capital and financial market participants for nearly a decade, he has also advised successive prime ministers on how best to deal with Japan's economic and banking problems. He served as an economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and was a Doctoral Fellow of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Author of many books and a visiting professor of Waseda University, he was awarded the Abramson Award by the National Association of Business Economics, Washington, D. C. for 2001.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements.

Introduction.

1. The Japanese Economy in Balance Sheet Recession.??

2. Fiscal Stimulus Essential in Overcoming Balance Sheet Recession.

3. Monetary Policy Ineffective in Today's Japan.

4. Conditions for Recovery.

5. The Missing Link in Macroeconomics.

6. Haste Ill-Advised in Disposing Non-Performing Loans.

7. Understanding the Misunderstandings: The Real Story.

8. Four Kinds of Banking Crises and the Role of the Blanket Guarantee.

9. Real Challenges Facing Asian Economies.

10. Japan's Lessons for the U.S. Economy.

11. Real Challenges Facing Japan.

Appendix 1: Summary of Balance Sheet Recession.

Appendix 2:??Revisiting Money Supply, High-Powered Money and??Money Multiplier.

Index.??

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