October 21, 2008

Parallels In Financial Crises - Lessons from the Japanese Experience

Garett Jones

Senior Research Fellow

While every nation weathers periodic economic storms and disarray, total and widespread financial collapse is rarely seen. It falls to history, then, to help us glean lessons from past actions and gain perspective on current situations. Most notably, an understanding of the United States' Great Depression and Japan's 1990 housing bubble could provide insight on how to emerge from today's financial turbulence.

In the 1990s, Japan faced its own financial crisis that crippled the nation. Prior to 1990, the land beneath Japan's Imperial Palace in Tokyo was said to be worth more than the entire state of California; but by 2001, land had reportedly dropped 70% in value. The collapse of the real estate bubble rocked the Japanese economy and launched what became known as "The Lost Decade" in Japan when GDP growth slowed to only 1% a year. To help policy makers understand the economics behind these events, Dr. Garett Jones, a professor with George Mason University, will present an overview of the similarities between the 1990s Japanese turmoil and the United States' credit crunch in addition to new policy ideas to avoid replicating the elements of previous strategy and avoid such a slowdown in the American economy.