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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 University of California at Berkeley, Economics Department in its series J. Bradford De Long's Working Papers with number _135.

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Handle: RePEc:wop:calbec:_135

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  1. Edward C. Prescott, 1986. "Theory ahead of business cycle measurement," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall, pages 9-22.
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