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International Finance Discussion Papers
The International Finance Discussion Papers logo links to the International Finance Discussion Papers home page Bank Lending and Economic Activity in Japan: Did "Financial Factors" Contribute to the Recent Downturn?
Allan D. Brunner and Steven B. Kamin
1995-513  (June 1995)

Abstract:  In this paper, we examine the role of "financial factors" in Japan and attempt to gauge their recent impact on the Japanese economy. First, we find that proxies for financial factors enter significantly in behavioral equations for loan standards, loan demand and aggregate demand, although these proxies explain only a small amount of the variation in those variables. Second, there is some, albeit inconclusive, evidence that balance-sheet problems of households and firms contributed to Japan's recent recession. We find that exogenous declines in equity prices contributed significantly to the decline in loans and economic activity, although part of this influence appears to be operating through traditional wealth effects. In addition, loan demand shocks, which could reflect balance-sheet problems not captured by our model, account for much of the remainder of the shortfall in loans and some of the shortfall in economic activity. Finally, we also find some evidence that an exogenous contraction in loan supply, a "credit crunch," may have lowered output by a small degree, but only in the early phases of the recession.

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