Weather forecast or rain-dance? On inter-war business barometers
AbstractIn this paper, I use the materials of the debate on the reliability and the utility of “business barometers” of the Twenties in order to show that the theoretical reflexions of the time could be used by economic historians as a working hypothesis to analyze the influence exerted by circulating statistical data on the decisions of economic operators and institutions. I offer a short illustration of the origins and circulation of economic trends forecasting in the first decades of 20th century, paying particular attention to the critical attitude shown by Corrado Gini and Oskar Morgenstern and to the debate arisen inside the Harvard Committee for Economic Research on the inefficiency of its “index of economic conditions” during the 1929 crisis. I finally suggest that thorough research on the circulation and the influence exerted by the Harvard index on the business world, still after the slump in prices of New York Stock Exchange, could contribute to explain the behaviour of American businessmen and investors during the first Thirties, and the deepening of the crisis.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari" in its series Working Papers with number 2007_14.
Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
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More information through EDIRC
Economic forecasts; 1930s crisis; US;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- N22 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
- N42 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
- N82 - Economic History - - Micro-Business History - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
- B23 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Econometrics; Quantitative and Mathematical Studies
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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.:
- Ray C. Fair & Matthew D. Shapiro & Kathryn M. Dominguez, 1989.
"Forecasting the Depression: Harvard Versus Yale,"
NBER Working Papers
2095, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Marc Flandreau & Norbert Gaillard & Frank Packer, 2010. "To err is human: rating agencies and the interwar foreign government debt crisis," BIS Working Papers 335, Bank for International Settlements.
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