This working paper presents the background and the details of the simulations behind Box 1.4 of the May 2013 OECD Economic Outlook. A small simulation model is used to evaluate the contribution that the three pillars of the government’s strategy – fiscal consolidation, growth-boosting structural reforms and higher inflation – could make to reversing the rise in Japan’s public debt ratio.
How far to go – and to remain – in the direction of highly expansionary monetary policy hinges on the balance of marginal benefits and costs of additional monetary easing and its expected evolution over time. This paper sketches a framework for assessing this balance and applies it to four OECD economic areas: the euro area, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.
In the wake of the Great Recession, a massive monetary policy stimulus was provided in the main OECD economies. It helped to stabilise financial markets and avoid deflation. Nonetheless, GDP growth has been sluggish and in some countries lower than expected given the measures taken, and estimated economic slack remains large.
In the run-up to the financial crisis, indebtedness of households and non-financial businesses rose to historically high levels in many OECD countries; gross debt of financial companies rose dramatically relative to GDP. Much of the debt accumulation appears to have been based on excessive risk-taking and exceptional macro-economic conditions and therefore not sustainable.
Italy’s policy of fiscal consolidation and growth-friendly structural reforms has substantially improved its economic prospects, but the adverse sentiment that the country has faced in the sovereign bond market over the past years has deep roots.
Slovenia is facing the legacy of a boom-bust cycle that has been compounded by weak corporate governance of state-owned banks. The levels of non-performing loans and capital adequacy ratios compare poorly in international perspective and may deteriorate further, which could require significant bank recapitalisation.
Extensive structural reforms since the early 1990s have strengthened the resilience of the Swedish economy to shocks.
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Public and private debt levels are very high by historical standards. OECD-wide total financial liabilities now exceed 1 000% of GDP. High debt levels can create vulnerabilities, which amplify and transmit macroeconomic and asset price shocks.
Low growth and huge current account deficits have characterised the Portuguese economy over the past decade.
Effective macroeconomic and structural policies helped Turkey bounce back quickly and strongly from the global crisis, with annual growth averaging close to 9% over 2010-11