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How to Prevent the Japanification of East Asia’s Economies

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NEW YORK – At the annual meeting of the American Economic Association (AEA) in early January, former US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, former European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, and eminent economists warned that Western economies risked “Japanification”: a future of sluggish growth, low inflation, and perpetually low interest rates. Yet, surprising as it may seem, this malaise also threatens East Asia.

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    Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan, once called the “Asian tigers,” now face slow growth and disinflationary pressures. Last year, Hong Kong’s economy contracted by 1.2%, while the other three grew only modestly – Singapore by 0.6%, and South Korea and Taiwan by about 2% each. Inflation in each of these three countries was about........

    © Project Syndicate