NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Tsutomu Watanabe

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Working Papers

October 2013How Much Do Official Price Indexes Tell Us about Inflation?
with Jessie Handbury, David E. Weinstein: w19504
Official price indexes, such as the CPI, are imperfect indicators of inflation calculated using ad hoc price formulae different from the theoretically well-founded inflation indexes favored by economists. This paper provides the first estimate of how accurately the CPI informs us about “true” inflation. We use the largest price and quantity dataset ever employed in economics to build a Törnqvist inflation index for Japan between 1989 and 2010. Our comparison of this true inflation index with the CPI indicates that the CPI bias is not constant but depends on the level of inflation. We show the informativeness of the CPI rises with inflation. When measured inflation is low (less than 2.4% per year) the CPI is a poor predictor of true inflation even over 12-month periods. Outside this range, ...
July 2008Random Walk or A Run: Market Microstructure Analysis of the Foreign Exchange Rate Movements based on Conditional Probability
with Yuko Hashimoto, Takatoshi Ito, Takaaki Ohnishi, Misako Takayasu, Hideki Takayasu: w14160
Using tick-by-tick data of the dollar-yen and euro-dollar exchange rates recorded in the actual transaction platform, a "run" -- continuous increases or decreases in deal prices for the past several ticks -- does have some predictable information on the direction of the next price movement. Deal price movements, that are consistent with order flows, tend to continue a run once it started i.e., conditional probability of deal prices tend to move in the same direction as the last several times in a row is higher than 0.5. However, quote prices do not show such tendency of a run. Hence, a random walk hypothesis is refuted in a simple test of a run using the tick by tick data. In addition, a longer continuous increase of the price tends to be followed by larger reversal. The findings suggest t...
February 2005Monetary and Fiscal Policy in a Liquidity Trap: The Japanese Experience 1999-2004
with Mitsuru Iwamara, Takeshi Kudo: w11151
We characterize monetary and fiscal policy rules to implement optimal responses to a substantial decline in the natural rate of interest, and compare them with policy decisions made by the Japanese central bank and government in 1999-2004. First, we find that the Bank of Japan's policy commitment to continuing monetary easing until some prespecified conditions are satisfied lacks history dependence, a key feature of the optimal monetary policy rule. Second, the term structure of the interest rate gap (the spread between the actual real interest rate and its natural rate counterpart) was not downward sloping, indicating that the Bank of Japan's commitment failed to have su.cient influence on the market's expectations about the future course of monetary policy. Third, we find that the primar...
July 1999Tax Policy and Consumer Spending: Evidence from Japanese Fiscal Experiments
with Katsunori Watanabe, Takayuki Watanabe: w7252
This paper studies the extent to which the impact of tax policy on consumer spending differs between temporary and permanent, as well as anticipated and unanticipated tax changes. To discriminate between them, we use institutional information such as legal distinction between temporary and permanent tax changes, as well as timing of policy announcement and implementation. We find that the impact of temporary changes is significantly smaller than the impact of permanent changes. We also find that more than 80 per cent of Japanese consumers, including those who distinguish between temporary and permanent tax changes, respond to tax changes at the time of their implementation and not at the time of a policy announcement. We suggest an interpretation that these consumers follow a near-rati...

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