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Could A Monetary Base Rule Have Prevented the Great Depression?

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  • Bennett T. McCallum

Abstract

This paper continues an ongoing investigation of the properties of a specific, quantitative, and operational rule for the conduct of monetary policy, a rule that specifies settings of the monetary base that are designed to keep nominal GNP growing smoothly at a noninflationary rate. Whereas previous studies have examined the rule's performance in the context of United States experience since World War II, the present paper is concerned with the period 1923-1941. Counterfactual historical simulations are conducted with the rule and a small model of nominal GNP determination, estimated with U.S. quarterly data for 1922-1941. Residuals from the estimated relationships serve as estimates of the behavioral shocks that occurred and accordingly are fed into the simulation process quarter by quarter. The simulation results indicate that nominal GNP would have been kept reasonably close to a steady 3 percent growth path over 1923-1941 if the rule had been in effect, in which case it is highly unlikely that real output and employment could have collapsed as they did during the 1930s.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3162.

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Date of creation: Nov 1989
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Publication status: published as Journal of Monetary of Economics, Vol. 26, No. 1, pp. 3-26, (1990).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3162

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Cited by:
  1. McNelis, Paul D. & Asilis, Carlos M., 2002. "Macroeconomic policy games and asset-price volatility in the EMS: a linear quadratic control analysis of France, Germany, Italy and Spain," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 1-24, January.
  2. Szilard Benk & Max Gillman & Michal Kejak, 2009. "A Banking Explanation of the US Velocity of Money: 1919-2004," IEHAS Discussion Papers 0923, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
  3. Danfeng Kong & Osamu Kamoike, . "The stability condition of a forward looking Taylor rule," EAERG Discussion Paper Series, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia 0705, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
  4. Orphanides, Athanasios, 2003. "Historical monetary policy analysis and the Taylor rule," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 50(5), pages 983-1022, July.
  5. McNelis, Paul D. & Asilis, Carlos M., 1995. "Monetary policy games with broad money targets a linear quadratic control analysis of the U.S. and Japan," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 19(5-7), pages 1091-1111.
  6. Thornton, Saranna Robinson, 2000. "How do broader monetary aggregates and divisia measures of money perform in McCallum's adaptive monetary rule?," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 52(1-2), pages 181-204.
  7. McCallum, Bennett T., 1999. "Issues in the design of monetary policy rules," Handbook of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 23, pages 1483-1530 Elsevier.

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