This paper examines the methods used by the Bank of Japan (BOJ) for estimation of the output gap. Great emphasis is put on the real-time estimation problems. After reviewing the evolution of output-gap estimation at the Bank, I discuss advantages and disadvantages of the various output-gap measures. First, I examine the usefulness of the output gap for inflation forecasting and show that the real-time output gap sometimes includes too much noise. Second, I investigate the implications of the real-time estimation problems for policy evaluation. Third, I exploit the TANKAN to enhance the usefulness of the real-time output gap.
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