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The Effects of Technology Changes on the Sectoral Trade Patterns and the Import Penetration Ratio *1

Augusut 2003
Munehisa Kasuya
Toshihiro Okada

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The inflation rate in Japan has been decreasing since the beginning of the 1990s. Although weak domestic demand most probably explains a large part of the story of this deflationary trend, external factors such as the recent increase in the number of cheap imported goods, have played an important role. In fact, the import penetration ratio in Japan has been increasing since the beginning of the 1990s. This paper empirically analyses the dynamics of sectoral trade patterns and the aggregate import penetration ratio by considering both macroeconomic factors (expected changes in common technologies and unexpected changes in sector specific technologies) and sector-specific factors (changes in the levels of comparative advantage). The empirical analysis successfully explains the rise in the Japanese import penetration ratio during the 1990s.

Key Words:
Deflation, Import penetration, Trade patterns, Technology changes.

JEL Classification:
F14, F41.

  • *1 We would like to thank Anton Braun, Hijiri Matsubara, Tetsuji Sonobe, the seminar participants at Kansai University, Osaka University, Japan Economic Association 2003 Spring Meetings, and the staff of the Bank of Japan for their insightful comments. We would also like to thank Masahiro Kawai and Li-Gang Liu for helpful discussions. Views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Bank of Japan or the Research and Statistics Department, Bank of Japan. We are responsible for all remaining errors.