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Overvalued: Swedish Monetary Policy in the 1930s

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  • Alexander Rathke
  • Tobias Straumann
  • Ulrich Woitek

Abstract

This paper reconsiders the role of monetary policy in Sweden’s strong recovery from the Great Depression. The Riksbank in the 1930s is sometimes seen as an example of a central bank that was relatively innovative in terms of the conduct of monetary policy. To consider this analytically, we estimate a small-scale, structural general equilibrium model of a small open economy using Bayesian methods. We find that the model captures the key dynamics of the period surprisingly well. Importantly, our findings suggest that Sweden avoided the worst excesses of the depression by conducting conservative rather than innovative monetary policy. We find that, by keeping the Swedish krona undervalued to replenish foreign reserves, Sweden’s exchange rate policy unintentionally contributed to the Swedish growth miracle of the 1930s, avoiding a major slump in 1932 and enabling the country to benefit quickly from the eventual recovery of world demand.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3692.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3692

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  1. Frank Smets & Raf Wouters, 2002. "Openness, imperfect exchange rate pass-through and monetary policy," Working Paper Research 19, National Bank of Belgium.
  2. Lars Jonung, 1984. "Swedish Experience under the Classical Gold Standard, 1873-1914," NBER Chapters, in: A Retrospective on the Classical Gold Standard, 1821-1931, pages 361-404 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Miguel Almunia & Agustín S. Bénétrix & Barry Eichengreen & Kevin H. O'Rourke & Gisela Rua, 2009. "From Great Depression to Great Credit Crisis: Similarities, Differences and Lessons," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp303, IIIS.
  4. Hinkle, Lawrence E. & Monteil, Peter J. (ed.), 1999. "Exchange Rate Misalignment: Concepts and Measurement for Developing Countries," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195211269.
  5. Michael D. Bordo & Anna J. Schwartz, 1984. "A Retrospective on the Classical Gold Standard, 1821-1931," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bord84-1, May.
  6. Carl E. Walsh, 2003. "Monetary Theory and Policy, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 0262232316, December.
  7. Eichengreen, Barry, 1996. "Golden Fetters: The Gold Standard and the Great Depression, 1919-1939," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195101133.
  8. Anna J. Schwartz, 1984. "Introduction to "A Retrospective on the Classical Gold Standard, 1821-1931"," NBER Chapters, in: A Retrospective on the Classical Gold Standard, 1821-1931, pages 1-22 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Malin Adolfson & Stefan Laseen & Jesper Lindé & Mattias Villani, 2005. "An estimated New Keynesian small open economy model," Proceedings, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  10. Rabanal, Pau & Rubio-Ramirez, Juan F., 2005. "Comparing New Keynesian models of the business cycle: A Bayesian approach," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(6), pages 1151-1166, September.
  11. Javier Garcia-Cicco & Roberto Pancrazi & Martin Uribe, 2010. "Real Business Cycles in Emerging Countries?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2510-31, December.
  12. Nooman Rebei & Steven Ambler & Ali Dib, 2004. "Taylor Rules in an Estimated Model of a Small Open Economy," 2004 Meeting Papers 378, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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