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"Liquidation" Cycles: Old-Fashioned Real Business Cycle Theory and the Great Depression

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  • J. Bradford De Long

Abstract

During the 1929-33 slide into the Great Depression, the Federal Reserve took almost no steps to keep the money supply or the price level stable. Instead, the Federal Reserve acted - disastrously - as if the gathering Great Depression could not be avoided, and was best endured. Such a liquidationist' theory of depressions was in fact common before the Keynesian Revolution, and was held and advanced by economists like Kayek and Schumpeter. This paper tries to reconstruct the logic of the liquidationist' view. It argues that the perspective was carefully thought out (although not adequate to the Depression), may hold some truth in other times and places, and could be the core of a more productive research program that currently popular real' business cycle theories.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3546.

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Date of creation: Dec 1990
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3546

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  1. Prescott, Edward C., 1986. "Theory ahead of business-cycle measurement," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 11-44, January.
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Cited by:
  1. Piekkola, Hannu & Böckerman, Petri, 2002. "On Whom Falls the Burden of Restructuring? Evidence from Finland," Discussion Papers 714, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  2. Caballero, R.J. & Hammour, M.L., 1991. "The Cleansing Effect of Recessions," Discussion Papers 1991_59, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  3. Caballero, Ricardo & Hammour, Mohamad, 1999. "The Cost of Recessions Revisited: A Reverse-Liquidationist View," CEPR Discussion Papers 2331, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Barry Eichengreen, 1991. "Designing a Central Bank for Europe: A Cautionary Tale From the Early Years of the Federal Reserve System," NBER Working Papers 3840, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Carlos Carreira & Paulino Teixeira, 2008. "Internal and external restructuring over the cycle: a firm-based analysis of gross flows and productivity growth in Portugal," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 29(3), pages 211-220, June.
  6. Mauro Boianovsky & Hans-Michael Trautwein, 2010. "Schumpeter on unemployment," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 20(2), pages 233-263, April.
  7. Ricardo J. Caballero & Mohamad L. Hammour, 2001. "Creative Destruction and Development : Institutions, Crises and Restructuring," DELTA Working Papers 2001-04, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  8. Huovinen, Pasi & Piekkola, Hannu, 2001. "Unemployment and Early Retirements of the Aged Workers in Finland," Discussion Papers 750, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  9. Free Huizinga & Peter Broer, 2004. "Wage moderation and labour productivity," CPB Discussion Paper 28, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  10. Ben S. Bernanke, 2013. "A Century of US Central Banking: Goals, Frameworks, Accountability," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 27(4), pages 3-16, Fall.
  11. Ricardo J. Caballero & Mohamad L. Hammour, 1998. "The Macroeconomics of Specificity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(4), pages 724-767, August.
  12. Marcello M. Estevão & Tiago Severo, 2011. "Shocks, Financial Dependence, and Efficiency," IMF Working Papers 11/199, International Monetary Fund.
  13. Daniel Kuehn, 2011. "A critique of Powell, Woods, and Murphy on the 1920–1921 depression," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer, vol. 24(3), pages 273-291, September.
  14. Barry Eichengreen, 2002. "Still Fettered After All These Years," NBER Working Papers 9276, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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