Working Paper 2019-15
We assess the impact of news concerning the reforms associated with “Abenomics” using an arbitrage-free term structure model of nominal and real yields. Our model explicitly accounts for the deflation protection enhancement embedded in Japanese inflation-indexed bonds issued since 2013, which pay their original nominal principal when deflation has occurred from issue to maturity. The value of this enhancement is sizable and time-varying, with substantive impacts on estimates of expected inflation compensation. After properly accounting for deflation protection, our results suggest that Japanese inflation risk premia were mostly negative during this period. Moreover, long-term inflation expectations remained positive throughout, despite extensive spells of realized deflation. Finally, initial market responses to policy changes associated with Abenomics and afterwards were not as inflationary as they appear under standard modeling procedures, implying that the program was less “disappointing” than many perceive.