Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Is Deflation depressing? Evidence from the Classical Gold Standard

Contents:

Author Info

  • Michael D. Bordo
  • Angela Redish

Abstract

We distinguish between good and bad deflations. In the former case, falling prices may be caused by aggregate supply (possibly driven by technology advances) increasing more rapidly than aggregate demand. In the latter case, declines in aggregate demand outpace any expansion in aggregate supply. This was the experience in the Great Depression (1929-33), the recession of 1919-21, and may be the case in Japan today. In this paper we focus on the price level and growth experience of the United States and Canada, 1870-1913. Both countries adhered to the international gold standard. This meant that the domestic price level was largely determined by international (exogenous) forces. In addition, neither country had a central bank which could intervene in the gold market to shield the domestic economy from external conditions. We proceed by identifying separate supply' shocks, money supply shocks and demand shocks using a Blanchard-Quah methodology. We model the economy as a small open economy on the gold standard and identify the shocks by imposing long run restrictions on the impact of the shocks and on output prices. We then do a historical decomposition to examine the impact of each shock on output. The results for the U.S. are clear: the different rates of change in the price levels before and after 1890 are attributed to different monetary shocks, but these shocks explain very little of output growth or volatility, which is almost entirely a response to supply' shocks. For Canada the results are murkier. As in the U.S., the money supply shocks before 1896 are predominantly negative and after that are largely positive. However, they are non-neutral, and relative to the U.S., money supply shocks play a larger role in determining output behavior in Canada. The key conclusion of our analysis is that the simple demarcation of good vs. bad deflation, where either prices fall because of a positive supply shock, or prices fall because of a negative demand (money) shock does not capture the complexity of the historical experience of the pre-1896 period. Indeed, we find that prices fell as a result of a combination of negative money supply shocks and positive supply shocks.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w9520.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9520.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: Mar 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Burdekin, Richard C. K. and Pierre L. Siklos (eds.) Deflation: Current and Historical Perspectives. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9520

Note: DAE ME
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Email:
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Michael D. Bordo & Ronald MacDonald, 1997. "Violations of the `Rules of the Game' and the Credibility of the Classical Gold Standard, 1880-1914," NBER Working Papers 6115, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Keating, John W & Nye, John V, 1998. "Permanent and Transitory Shocks in Real Output: Estimates from Nineteenth-Century and Postwar Economies," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 30(2), pages 231-51, May.
  3. Blanchard, Olivier Jean & Quah, Danny, 1989. "The Dynamic Effects of Aggregate Demand and Supply Disturbances," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 655-73, September.
  4. Bordo, Michael D. & Rockoff, Hugh & Redish, Angela, 1994. "The U.S. Banking System From a Northern Exposure: Stability versus Efficiency," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(02), pages 325-341, June.
  5. Richard Clarida & Jordi Gali, 1994. "Sources of real exchange rate fluctuations: how important are nominal shocks?," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, issue Apr.
  6. Charles W. Calomiris & Christopher Hanes, 1994. "Historical Macroeconomics and American Macroeconomic History," NBER Working Papers 4935, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Michael D. Bordo, 1993. "The gold standard, Bretton Woods and other monetary regimes: a historical appraisal," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Mar, pages 123-191.
  8. Edward J. Chambers & Donald F. Gordon, 1966. "Primary Products and Economic Growth: An Empirical Measurement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 74, pages 315.
  9. Balke, Nathan S & Gordon, Robert J, 1989. "The Estimation of Prewar Gross National Product: Methodology and New Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(1), pages 38-92, February.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Guerrero, Federico & Parker, Elliott, 2006. "Deflation and recession: Finding the empirical link," Economics Letters, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 93(1), pages 12-17, October.
  2. Gregor W. Smith, 2006. "The spectre of deflation: a review of empirical evidence," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1041-1072, November.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9520. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.