Chapter

7 Monetary Policy Transmission in Japan

Author(s):
Tamim Bayoumi, and Charles Collyns
Published Date:
March 2000
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Author(s)
James Morsink and Tamim Bayoumi 

How monetary policy affects real activity is always a subject of lively interest to economists. Many channels have been identified, including interest rates, the exchange rate, inflationary expectations (higher expected inflation lowers the real interest rate), bank lending, balance sheet effects, and wealth effects, but there is little agreement on either their precise workings or their relative importance (see Mishkin, 1995).

When an economy is in a recession, monetary policy and the channels of monetary transmission receive particular scrutiny. In the case of Japan, two further factors make understanding the transmission mechanism especially important. First, the Bank of Japan has steadily lowered the overnight call rate—the operating target for monetary policy—to “as low as possible” (which turns out to be 0.03 percent given transactions costs). With monetary policy bumping up against the nominal floor on interest rates, and attention shifting to a possible role for quantitative easing, examining the monetary transmission mechanism may provide some insight into the effectiveness of policies in this unusual environment.

Second, the 1990s slump in activity was accompanied by a banking crisis. A growing body of research focuses on the bank lending channel of the monetary transmission mechanism (see Bernanke and Gertler, 1995, and Kashyap and Stein, 1997). Banks are seen as playing an important independent role in overcoming information problems and other frictions in credit markets, so that some borrowers (small firms, for example) cannot readily find substitutes for bank financing. As a result, changes to banks’ ability to lend—either reflecting monetary policy developments or other changes to bank capital and funding—are transmitted to bank-dependent borrowers. As banks play a large role in Japan’s financial intermediation, the bank lending channel may be of particular significance as a conduit for monetary policy and, given the problems being experienced by the banking sector, as an independent source of real disturbances.1

This chapter uses vector autoregressions (VARs) to examine the monetary transmission mechanism in Japan. This methodology—set out below—allows us to place minimal restrictions on how monetary shocks affect the economy, which—given the lack of consensus about the workings of the monetary transmission mechanism—is a distinct advantage. In addition, this approach recognizes explicitly the simultaneity between monetary policy and macroeconomic developments, that is, the dependence of monetary policy on other economic variables as well as the dependence of economic variables on monetary policy. Our strategy is first to estimate a basic monetary model with standard variables and then to extend the model to focus on the role of various factors—banks, securities markets, and components of private demand—in the monetary transmission mechanism.2

The empirical results indicate that both monetary policy and banks’ balance sheets are important sources of shocks, that banks play a crucial role in transmitting monetary shocks to economic activity, that corporations and households have not been able to substitute borrowing from other sources for a shortfall in bank borrowing, and that business investment is especially sensitive to monetary shocks. We conclude that policy measures to strengthen banks are a prerequisite to restoring the effectiveness of the monetary transmission mechanism.

Methodology

Our basic model includes economic activity, prices, interest rates, and broad money.3 Our measure of economic activity is real private demand (real GDP minus total government spending), because public sector demand is driven primarily by fiscal policy, which is assumed to be exogenous. We express private demand as a ratio to potential output for two reasons: our focus is the impact of monetary events on the cyclical behavior of real private demand; and this variable is (in principle) stationary, which allows the model to be estimated in levels, in line with the U.S. literature. We use the IMF’s measure of potential output, which is based on a Cobb-Douglas production function (as discussed in Chapter 5). The price level is given by the natural logarithm of the consumer price index, while real broad money (M2+CDs) is divided by potential output, so that responses can be easily converted into policy multipliers.4

Our measure of the stance of monetary policy in Japan is the uncollateralized overnight call rate, the current operating target of policy. Although both the instruments and operating objectives of the Bank of Japan have evolved over time, mostly reflecting the development of financial markets, several authors have noted that monetary policy has consistently laid a strong emphasis on short-term interest rates.

The VAR is identified in the standard manner, using a Choleski decomposition with the ordering being private demand, prices, the overnight call rate, and broad money.5 The ordering determines the level of exogeneity of the variables, so current shocks to activity are assumed independent of current shocks to all the other variables in the system, while current shocks to money are assumed to be affected by current shocks to all other variables. This ordering was chosen on the basis of the speed with which the variables respond to shocks, with output assumed to be the least responsive, followed by prices, then short rates, and finally broad money.6 In addition to a constant term and a time trend, the VAR also includes two dummy variables aimed at capturing the short-term shifting of demand seen in the quarter before and the quarter after the introduction of the consumption tax in April 1989 and its increase in April 1997, with each variable designed so that the impacts sum to zero over time. The VAR is estimated with quarterly, seasonally adjusted data from 1980Q1 to 1998Q3 using two lags—the results are similar when we change the ordering of the variables (for example, interest rate, money, output, and prices), start the estimation a few years earlier or later, or use different lags.

We extended the VAR in a number of different directions to examine alternative aspects of the monetary transmission mechanism. To analyze the sensitivity of different components of private demand to monetary shocks, we split private demand into its main components: private consumption, business investment, housing investment, and net exports. For each component (say, private consumption), we estimated a VAR with the following ordering: total private demand minus the demand component of interest, the demand component of interest, prices, the overnight call rate, and broad money.

To investigate the role of financial intermediation in the monetary transmission mechanism, we extended the basic VAR by including the main components of private sector funding. Specifically, we added loans received by corporations and individuals from the public sector (that is, from government financial institutions), loans from private financial institutions (essentially bank loans), and money raised in securities markets. The ordering is public loans, funds from securities, then bank loans, reflecting our assumption that private institutions—such as banks and securities markets—generally respond more quickly to requests for funding than government financial institutions (the results are similar for different orderings).

Next, to further examine the role of banks in the monetary transmission mechanism, we have incorporated the two main components of bank assets: loans and holdings of securities. Securities holdings are ordered last, reflecting the relative ease with which they can be adjusted. If, as we suspect, shocks to bank assets turn out to be important in causing output variations, how should we think about them, as distinct from interest rate and money shocks? One possibility, suggested by the literature on the credit crunch, is that loan shocks reflect changes in banks’ capital strength (see Ito and Sasaki, 1998, and Woo, 1999). For example, an unexpected improvement in bank strength might cause banks to extend more loans. To test this hypothesis, we add a market-based indicator of bank strength—bank stock prices relative to overall stock prices—to the bank credit VAR.7

Finally, we estimate a single VAR that we feel captures the key elements of the monetary transmission mechanism. As business investment turns out to be much more sensitive to monetary shocks than other components of private demand, we run the VAR with private demand split into business investment and the remainder. We then include the other basic variables—prices, overnight call rate, and broad money. As our investigation of the transmission channel from the perspectives of both borrowers (private sector funding) and lenders (bank assets) revealed the important role played by bank loans, we include this variable.

Results

Basic Monetary Model

The basic model, which includes private demand, prices, interest rates, and money, provides three important results relevant to the monetary transmission mechanism: interest rate shocks have significant effects on real private demand, consistent with an important role for monetary policy; broad money shocks also have significant effects on output, even though interest rates are included in the model, consistent with the idea that nonpolicy monetary shocks are also important in determining economic activity; and base money shocks have no significant impact on output.

The results from the basic model are illustrated through the model’s impulse response functions reported in Figure 7.1. An unexpected rise in short-term interest rates causes a statistically significant decline in private demand, which bottoms out after 8-10 quarters. The implied multiplier for the interest rate is minus 0.6, calculated as the ratio of the fall in output (0.3 percent) to a typical interest rate shock (0.5 percent).8 A broad money shock causes a significant increase in private demand, with a ¥100 increase in broad money raising real private demand by ¥80. The fact that a money shock has a large impact on economic activity, even when the interest rate is included as a separate variable in the VAR, is consistent with the idea that the interest rate channel alone does not fully account for the sources and transmission of monetary shocks in Japan.

Figure 7.1.Impulse Response Functions for the Basic Model

(Responses to 1 standard deviation (SD) innovations)

Source: IMF staff calculations.

Interest rates rise in response to price shocks, but are relatively insensitive to private demand shocks, consistent with the Bank of Japan’s emphasis on price stability. The positive interest rate response to broad money innovations is somewhat counterintuitive—we might expect declining interest rates to accompany an expansion of liquidity. One possible explanation is that money shocks are indicative of future inflation, consistent with the price level’s positive response to money shocks.

Thus far, we have assumed that monetary policy acts only through interest rates, not through the quantity of high-powered money (“quantitative easing”). To address the issue of whether base money is also important for aggregate demand when interest rates are held constant, we added base money to the basic model.9 The impulse response of real demand to base money is small and insignificant—a typical money base shock raises real demand by less than 0.1 percent. In addition, adding base money has no perceptible impact on either the size or significance of the response of aggregate demand to broad money. This suggests that, at least in normal circumstances, quantitative easing may have only limited effects on activity.

Components of Private Demand

The first experiment we conduct is to examine which components of real private demand are most affected by monetary policy. This is accomplished by rerunning the basic model with real private demand split between the particular component being examined and the remainder of private demand (ordered first to avoid spurious correlations).10 For business investment, for example, the VAR involves private demand less business investment, business investment, prices, the overnight call rate, and broad money.

Figure 7.2 shows the response of the individual demand components to a change in interest rates and a change in broad money. The results indicate that monetary policy operates on the real economy largely through its impact on business investment. A typical innovation in the overnight call rate changes business investment by over 0.2 percentage points of potential output after 2½ years, compared to 0.1 percentage points for household spending (the sum of consumption and residential investment) and a negligible effect on net exports. The importance of business investment is consistent with the view that the bank lending channel dominates the monetary transmission mechanism in Japan, as such investment is largely funded out of bank lending, at least at the margin. Similar results are also found with regard to broad money.

Figure 7.2.Components of Private Demand

(Responses to 1 SD innovations)

Source: IMF staff calculations.

Private Sector Funding

The second extension to the basic model involves adding the main components of private sector funding: bank loans to corporations and households (hereafter simply called bank loans), loans from government financial institutions to these same sectors (henceforth, public loans), and funds raised by corporations through securities markets.11 So the VAR comprises (in order) private demand, prices, the overnight call rate, broad money, public loans, funds from securities markets, and bank loans. The addition of these private sector funding variables has almost no impact on the responses within the basic model, with one important exception, namely that the impact of the overnight rate on demand becomes insignificant. As this is the main transmission channel for monetary policy in the model, this result would be important if it turned out to be robust. Further investigation indicates that this result is reversed, however, when the series measuring funds raised in securities markets is eliminated from the VAR. As this variable has very little impact on the rest of the model, and this is the only case in which our monetary VARs produce an insignificant interest rate response on output, we view this effect as a statistical aberration.

Turning to the results for the three funding variables, we find that bank loans are a significant source of independent shocks to private demand, while funds from securities markets and public loans are not. The impulse responses in Figure 7.3 indicate that innovations to bank loans unconnected with interest rates and demand have a large and significant impact on private demand, with a ¥100 increase in bank loans leading to a ¥50 increase in real demand. By contrast, independent increases in funds from securities markets or loans from public institutions have no significant impact on demand. In the case of securities markets, this appears to reflect their limited importance in financial intermediation (comparing the size of own responses, the typical innovation to funding from securities markets is only two-fifths that of bank loans). For public sector loans, which are a more important component of the financial transmission mechanism, the results show that a rise in public loans is followed by reduction in privately-sourced funds. In other words, increases in public sector loans are almost entirely offset by subsequent reductions in bank loans and securities markets funding—public loans substitute for private credit, helping to explain why they have little impact on demand.

Figure 7.3.Responses of Private Demand to Funding Shocks

Source: IMF staff calculations.

Bank Lending

This section examines the role of banks in the monetary transmission mechanism by adding to the basic model the main components of bank assets, namely loans and holdings of securities. Including banks’ balance sheets in the analysis yields the following insights into the monetary transmission mechanism in Japan: shocks to bank loans have a positive and significant effect on private demand, even controlling for interest rates and broad money; the impulse responses of private demand to interest rate and money shocks are reduced when bank loans are treated as given, suggesting that bank loans are an important transmission channel; and the addition of relative bank stock prices to the VAR suggests that bank loan shocks may largely reflect innovations to bank strength.

The bank lending VAR includes private demand, prices, interest rates, broad money, bank loans, and banks’ holdings of securities. The impulse responses for the basic model variables are generally similar to the results reported previously, with the overnight call rate having a significantly negative effect—and broad money a significantly positive effect—on private demand. The response of private demand to a broad money shock is somewhat smaller to that in the basic model, suggesting that part of the broad money shocks in the basic model reflect bank lending shocks (Figure 7.4). Turning to the impact of the additional variables on private demand, a shock to bank loans has a positive, significant, and long-lasting effect—a ¥100 increase in bank lending increases private demand by more than ¥50—while shocks to securities have no significant short-term impact.

Figure 7.4.Impulse Responses for Bank Lending Model

(Responses to 1 SD innovations)

Source: IMF staff calculations.

Bank loans and securities both respond negatively to an interest rate shock and positively to a money shock.12 The fact that the immediate reactions of bank loans and securities are so large, accounting for more than four-fifths of the shock to broad money, shows that a shock to the main component of bank funding (broad money) cannot be immediately offset with a change in other liabilities. In turn, this suggests that banks do not face a perfectly elastic supply of funds and thus need to make an immediate adjustment in assets. Our results show that bank loans and securities respond in similar ways to monetary shocks, which is not consistent with the idea that banks use their relatively liquid assets (securities) as a temporary shock absorber and adjust their loans over the longer run.13

The role of bank loans in the transmission mechanism can be further examined by exogenizing bank loans in the calculation of the impulse responses, that is, treating the lagged values of bank loans as given in a smaller VAR with private demand, prices, the interest rate, broad money, and securities holdings. This procedure generates a VAR identical to the original, except that it blocks off any responses within the VAR that pass through bank loans, so comparisons of the impulse responses across the two models provide a measure of the importance of bank loans in the transmission mechanism. Exogenizing bank loans shortens the impulse response of private demand to an interest rate innovation, and dampens the response of a money shock (Figure 7.5). By contrast, exogenizing securities holdings does not have these effects. These results indicate that bank loans play an important role in transmitting interest rate and money shocks to economic activity.

Figure 7.5.Role of Bank Loans in Transmitting Monetary Shocks

(Responses to 1 SD innovations)

Source: IMF staff calculations.

Given the importance of bank loans in determining activity, it is useful to try to identify the nature of loan shocks, as distinct from interest rate and money shocks. Motivated by the idea that bank weaknesses could be pushing banks to contract lending (a credit crunch), we considered a market-based measure of bank strength, namely the relative value of bank stocks to the overall TOPIX.14 When added to the VAR, this variable does a good job of anticipating movements in bank loans, and otherwise generates the anticipated pattern of responses. The impulse response of private demand to bank strength is positive and significant. While private demand still responds positively and significantly to a shock to bank loans, the size of the response is now smaller. The responses of private demand to interest rate and money shocks are smaller, indicating that part of the impact of such shocks is captured by the measure of bank strength.

An interesting application of these results is to assess the likely impact of the recent decision to inject public funds into major banks on private credit and real demand. In the wake of the enactment of bank legislation in October 1998, which established the framework for the capital injections that eventually occurred in March 1999, bank stock prices recovered strongly—the bank strength variable rose by about 5 percentage points between the third and fourth quarters of 1998. In terms of the history of this variable, such an improvement is equivalent to a typical (one standard deviation) shock to bank strength. If we attribute this improvement exclusively to a previously unanticipated change in expectations about public capital injections, the estimated results suggest that bank loans will be about 0.5 percent of GDP higher than otherwise after about one year (and private demand about 0.35 percent of GDP higher).

Summary Model

We now run a single VAR that summarizes our key findings about the role of banks in the monetary transmission mechanism, namely that banks are both a significant source of independent shocks to private demand and an important conduit for interest rate and broad money shocks. The summary VAR differs from the basic model in two crucial aspects. First, reflecting the particular sensitivity of business investment to monetary shocks, the summary VAR splits private demand into business investment and the remainder of private demand. Second, the summary VAR adds bank loans (ordered last).

The impulse responses of this model show that shocks to interest rates, broad money, and bank loans all have large and significant effects on business investment and the remainder of private demand (Figure 7.6). The reactions to these shocks of business investment and the remainder of private demand differ in two important ways: the reactions of business investment are two to three times larger, confirming that this component of private demand is particularly sensitive to monetary shocks; and the reaction to any given shock of business investment builds up more slowly than the reaction of the remainder of private demand, reaching their peaks about one to two years later, which is consistent with the idea that planning processes for business investment are longer than for other components of private demand.

Figure 7.6.Impulse Responses for Summary Model

(Responses to 1 SD innovations)

Source: IMF staff calculations.

The fact that shocks to bank loans have positive and significant effects on private demand, even controlling for interest rates and broad money, confirms that banks play an important independent role in the monetary transmission mechanism. This role of banks as lenders is distinct from that played by the monetary authorities (who determine the overnight call rate) and economic agents more broadly (who decide their demand for money). The fact that the impulse responses of private demand to interest rate and money shocks are reduced when bank loans are exogenized confirms that such shocks are transmitted—at least in part—through bank loans, suggesting an important role for a bank lending channel.

Finally, we use the results of the summary VAR to decompose the actual path of business investment from 1980 to 1998 into the part predicted by the exogenous variables (constants, time trends, and dummies) and the remainder (the shock). This total shock is then divided into the part explained by innovations in financial variables (overnight call rate, broad money, and bank loans) and that explained by innovations in “real” variables (remainder of private demand, business investment, and prices). The historical decomposition in Figure 7.7 indicates how the bubble in the late 1980s was driven by both real factors (including changes in business and consumer sentiment) and financial shocks, while the recession of the early 1990s reflected the reversal of both these sets of shocks. Conversely, the pickup in business investment in 1996-97, which helped Japan achieve the most rapid growth rate among OECD countries in 1996, was driven exclusively by real factors, with financial shocks remaining in negative territory. Similarly, the recent abrupt decline in business investment reflects a reversal of these real factors, possibly owing to adverse effects of the Asian crisis on confidence.15

Figure 7.7.Historical Decomposition of Shocks to Business Investment

Source: IMF staff calculations.

Figure 7.7 also shows the individual components of the financial shocks to business investment: the interest rate shock, the broad money shock, and the bank loans shock. It is interesting that, at least according to our decomposition, interest rate policy was not surprisingly expansionary during the late 1980s—rather, the bubble was driven by money and loan shocks (possibly caused by irrational exuberance). The sharp swings in money demand in the early 1990s are difficult to explain, but could reflect in part the public’s initial rush into bank deposits (accompanying the collapse of asset prices) followed by the realization that banks themselves were in difficulties. Although monetary policy more recently provided some positive surprises, the public’s confidence in bank deposits (money demand) and banks’ willingness to lend (bank loans) remained weak, underlying the urgency of further progress on bank restructuring.

Conclusions

This chapter has used a series of VARs to examine the transmission of monetary shocks to real activity in Japan. Starting from a relatively simple specification that describes the overall mechanism, the role of the components of private demand, private sector funding, and bank lending were examined in turn by including relevant additional variables. Finally, a summary VAR was estimated that captures our main findings. The results of these exercises point to a transmission mechanism dominated by banks, in which bank lending is both an important independent source of shocks and an important conduit for the transmission of interest rate and broad money shocks to real activity. In a further experiment, we found that changes in the monetary base had relatively limited effects on real private demand, suggesting that in normal circumstances quantitative easing may provide limited benefits to activity.

The importance of bank loans in financial intermediation appears to reflect the lack of alternative sources of borrowing for much of the nonfinancial sector, with neither securities markets nor loans from public sector institutions providing a significant offset to changes in bank loans. In addition, independent disturbances to bank credit also appear to have a significant impact on private demand, and much of this effect can be captured by a measure of bank strength based on equity prices. By contrast, the potential benefits from increased loans by the public sector are negated by offsetting decreases in private sector credit.

The important independent role of bank loans in determining activity points to the fact that banking strains may have undermined the monetary transmission mechanism over the last few years. To the extent that banks have responded to their own difficulties by reducing their loans to the private sector, such behavior will have tended to offset the benefits of monetary easing. Indeed, the historical decomposition of the summary VAR shows that, while unanticipated monetary loosening has had a positive effect on business investment recently, shocks to bank loans have dragged down business investment, especially since 1996. Bank weakness explains a large part of the negative shocks to bank loans.

Looking to the future, the increasing role of private securities markets in financial intermediation likely to be created by the Big Bang financial deregulation initiative may well reduce the central role of banks in Japan’s financial system, although such changes are likely to be gradual rather than rapid, particularly given the importance of small companies in Japan’s industrial structure. In the meantime, the results presented here suggest that restoring the banking system to full health is essential both to revive the credit channel of monetary policy and to provide a direct boost to economic activity through increased bank lending.

Appendix. Data Sources

Aggregate demand: Economic Planning Agency, Annual Report on National Accounts.

Consumer price index, broad money, bank loans and bank holdings of securities, overnight call rate: Bank of Japan, Economic Statistics Monthly.

Corporate and household funding: Bank of Japan, Flow of Funds Accounts, Economic Statistics Monthly.

Bank strength: Tokyo Stock Exchange (First Section) banking sector index divided by composite index (TOPIX).

References

    AghevliBijan B.TamimBayoumi and GuyMeredith (eds.) 1998Structural Change in Japan: Macroeconomic Impact and Policy Challenges (Washington: International Monetary Fund).

    BayoumiTamim1999“The Morning After: Explaining the Slowdown in Japanese Growth in the 1990s,”IMF Working Paper 99/13 (Washington: International Monetary Fund).

    BernankeBen S. and Alan S.Blinder1992“The Federal Funds Rate and the Channels of Monetary Transmission,”American Economic ReviewVol. 82:4 (September) pp. 90121.

    BernankeBen S. and MarkGertler1995“Inside the Black Box: The Credit Channel of Monetary Policy Transmission,”Journal of Economic PerspectivesVol. 9:3 (Fall) pp. 2728.

    ItoTakatoshi and YuriNagataki Sasaki1998“Impacts of the Basle Capital Standard on Japanese Banks’ Behavior,”NBER Working Paper No. 6730 (September).

    KashyapAnil K. and Jeremy C.Stein1997“What do a Million Observations on Banks Say About the Transmission of Monetary Policy?”NBER Working Paper No. 6065 (June).

    KrugmanPaul R.1998“It’s Baaack: Japan’s Slump and the Return of the Liquidity Trap,”Brookings Papers on Economic Activity: 2 pp. 137205Brookings Institution.

    LipworthGabrielle and GuyMeredith1998“A Reexamination of Indicators of Monetary Policy and Financial Conditions,” in Bijan B.AghevliTamimBayoumi and GuyMeredith (eds.) Structural Change in Japan (Washington: International Monetary Fund).

    MishkinFrederick1995“Symposium on the Monetary Transmission Mechanism,”Journal of Economic PerspectivesVol. 9:3 pp. 310Fall.

    MorsinkJames and TamimBayoumi1999“A Peek Inside the Black Box: The Monetary Transmission Mechanism in Japan,”IMF Working Paper 99/137 (Washington: International Monetary Fund).

    WooDavid1999“In Search of Capital Crunch: Supply Factors Behind the Credit Slowdown in Japan,”IMF Working Paper 99/3January (Washington: International Monetary Fund).

Two different views of the banking crisis are contained in the literature. Krugman (1998) argues that bank weakness has had little impact on the effectiveness of monetary policy as impaired banks tend to lend too much, not too little. By contrast, Bayoumi, in Chapter 2 of this book, finds that the negative shocks to bank lending, either autonomous or caused by falling asset prices, have provided a major deflationary impetus over the 1990s.

A more detailed discussion of the econometric methodology and empirical results is contained in Morsink and Bayoumi (1999).

The inclusion of the exchange rate yielded unstable and often perverse results, such as a positive and significant output response to an exchange rate appreciation. The omission of such a variable for Japan is in line with the empirical literature on monetary policy in the United States, which is another large, advanced economy that is not very open.

The data sources are provided in the data annex. Real output and broad money are measured as ratios to potential output, prices are in logarithms, and the nominal interest rate is a ratio, so a change of 0.01 represents a 1 percentage point change in the relevant variable.

This identification scheme is common in the empirical literature on monetary policy, though other approaches have also been used.

Given the planning processes involved in setting output and prices, these variables are assumed to react slowly. The monetary authorities are assumed to set the call rate with some information about the contemporaneous behavior of output and prices, but without a full picture of the behavior of quickly changing financial variables. In the extended VARs, decisions about lending and borrowing are assumed to reflect all current information.

The stock price index for the banking sector from the Tokyo Stock Exchange is available starting in 1983, truncating the sample period. The variable is normalized to unity over the sample period, so that changes have the interpretation of percentage deviations. This variable was ordered last in the VAR, given that market prices generally respond quickly to all types of shocks.

This multiplier is similar to that obtained in Chapter 2 by Bayoumi, who uses a VAR methodology with a different set of variables, although only about half of that obtained by Lipworth and Meredith (1998), who use the Japan block of the IMF’s MULTIMOD model, and at the lower end of the range of estimates from large econometric models presented by Krugman (1998).

The equation for base money is ordered second to last (before broad money but after the short-term interest rate to account for the impact of interest rate changes on base money). The results are similar if base money is ordered last.

The components of private demand are consumption, business investment, residential investment, exports, and imports.

These data come from the flow of funds accounts. The securities markets series aggregates funds from bonds, corporate paper, and equities.

When the VAR is run without broad money, the impulse responses of private demand to innovations in bank loans and securities are somewhat larger, consistent with the view that these variables to some extent capture money shocks.

Bernanke and Blinder (1992) show that—in the U.S.—securities act as a shock absorber.

Balance-sheet-based measures of bank strength, such as a bank’s reported capital adequacy ratio, are not fully reliable. For example, Long-Term Credit Bank reported a capital adequacy of over 10 percent for March 1998, just a few months before it was found to have negative net worth equivalent to over 14 percent of risk assets.

The results of the decomposition are similar if the VAR is reordered with the financial variables preceding the real variables.

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