This concluding chapter discusses what this study of the Fiscal Investment Loan Program (FILP) reveals about the nature of Japanese political economy and the larger theoretical implications for the study of the politics of public finance. It underscores the need to take policy finance seriously. Public finance lies at the critical nexus between democratic politics and market economies, and all governments must make difficult trade-offs in balancing their political and economic priorities. As this study shows, policy finance can be an important means of financing public goals and constitutes a part of the larger “public effort.” In the case of Japan, while the government has kept budget spending relatively modest, this is only a part of the picture because it has also relied very heavily on FILP. Policy finance also matters because it presents governments with a potential means of dealing with one the most enduring political problems: revenue extraction.
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