Gavyn Daviesが「Japan flirts with helicopter money」という論説を書いている

There are many ways of defining helicopter money, but the essential feature is that it involves an increase in the budget deficit which is financed by a permanent increase in the central bank’s monetary base, not by the issuance of government debt. Although this does not literally involve dropping banknotes from the sky, its economic effects are similar.
This is different from quantitative easing, since QE involves the “temporary” purchase of government debt, which is subsequently sold back into the market, at least in theory. And QE does not necessarily need to involve any increase in the budget deficit, though in some circumstances it might do so.
Why is Japan even considering such extreme measures? The key here is that this policy is mainly about inflation expectations and real interest rates, not about output and unemployment. There is general agreement that the output gap in Japan is very small, at about 1-1.5 per cent of GDP, and that the labour market is operating close to full employment. So this is not a case of using government stimulus to correct a serious recession.
The assumption here is that fiscal policy would not henceforward be aimed directly at debt sustainability (by increasing the sales tax, for example), but would instead be subordinated to monetary policy and the inflation target. This point is crucial: a clear change in the fiscal target to emphasise the primacy of attaining the inflation objective should have a very powerful effect on inflation expectations.
There is little doubt that this would “work” if pursued with sufficient determination. A government that promises to increase its direct public expenditure, while permanently monetising all of that debt, can surely generate inflation.
The advantage over conventional QE is that this procedure ensures that there is a direct increase in nominal spending when the monetary base is increased. Because the future path for the price level is increased, and the real interest rate is reduced, the exchange rate would fall sharply as soon as the market believes that the new strategy is being adopted. Everything is joined up.
This sounds too good to be true, and there are certainly major risks involved with this strategy.
The key problem is that it might restore inflation far too well. It is very difficult to calibrate the amount of helicopter money that is needed to hit the inflation target. This is linked to the difficulty of persuading politicians to withdraw from the stimulus drug in the long run.
なぜ日本はそのような極端な手法をそもそも俎上に載せているのだろうか? 重要なポイントは、この政策は主にインフレ期待と実質金利に関するものであり、生産と雇用に関するものではない、ということである。日本の生産ギャップはGDPの1-1.5%と極めて小さく、労働市場完全雇用に近い状態にある、という点については一般の見方は一致している。従って、深刻な不況を是正するために政府の財政刺激を使う、という話ではない。


The likely outcome is a fudge, in which the government expands fiscal policy “temporarily”, while officially aiming for a primary budget balance by 2020. Meanwhile the BoJ would “independently” choose to finance the “temporary” fiscal stimulus by increasing its asset purchases yet again.
Whether this strategy of helicopter money in disguise would be powerful enough to shock inflation expectations upwards seems very doubtful. But if it fails, Japan may remain stuck in its deflationary trap indefinitely.