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Did sunspot cause the Great Depression?

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  • Harrison, Sharon G.
  • Weder, Mark

Abstract

We apply a dynamic general equilibrium model to the period of the Great Depression. In particular, we examine a modification of the real business cycle model in which the possibility of indeterminacy of equilibria arises. In other words, agents' self-fulfilling expectations can serve as a primary impulse behind fluctuations. We find that the model, driven only by these measured sunspot shocks, can explain well the entire Depression era. That is, the decline from 1929-1932, the subsequent slow recovery, and the recession that occurred in 1937-1938. --

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes in its series SFB 373 Discussion Papers with number 2002,35.

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Date of creation: 2002
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:sfb373:200235

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Keywords: Great Depression; Sunspots; Dynamic General Equilibrium;

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References

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  1. Basu, Susanto & Fernald, John G, 1997. "Returns to Scale in U.S. Production: Estimates and Implications," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 249-83, April.
  2. Roger E.A. Farmer & Jang Ting Guo, 1992. "Real Business Cycles and the Animal Spirits Hypothesis," UCLA Economics Working Papers 680, UCLA Department of Economics.
  3. Ray C. Fair & Matthew D. Shapiro & Kathryn M. Dominguez, 1986. "Forecasting the Depression: Harvard Versus Yale," NBER Working Papers 2095, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles L. Evans, 1997. "Monetary policy shocks: what have we learned and to what end?," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues WP-97-18, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  5. Salyer, Kevin D. & Sheffrin, Steven M., 1998. "Spotting sunspots: Some evidence in support of models with self-fulfilling prophecies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 511-523, October.
  6. Michael D. Bordo & Christopher J. Erceg & Charles N. Evans, 1997. "Money, Sticky Wages, and the Great Depression," NBER Working Papers 6071, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Christina D. Romer, 1993. "The Nation in Depression," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 19-39, Spring.
  8. Lee E. Ohanian, 2002. "Why did productivity fall so much during the Great Depression?," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Spr.
  9. Ben S. Bernanke & Martin L. Parkinson, 1990. "Procyclical Labor Productivity and Competing Theories of the Business Cycle: Some Evidence from Interwar U.S. Manufacturing Industries," NBER Working Papers 3503, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Ben Bernanke, 1990. "On the Predictive Power of Interest Rates and Interest Rate Spreads," NBER Working Papers 3486, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Russell Cooper & Joao Ejarque, 1995. "Financial Intermediation and The Great Depression: A Multiple Equilibrium Interpretation," NBER Working Papers 5130, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Bresnahan, Timothy F. & Raff, Daniel M. G., 1991. "Intra-Industry Heterogeneity and the Great Depression: The American Motor Vehicles Industry, 1929–1935," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(02), pages 317-331, June.
  13. Eichengreen, Barry, 1996. "Golden Fetters: The Gold Standard and the Great Depression, 1919-1939," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195101133, October.
  14. Milton Friedman & Anna J. Schwartz, 1963. "A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie63-1.
  15. Christina D. Romer, 1988. "The Great Crash and the Onset of the Great Depression," NBER Working Papers 2639, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Benhabib, Jess & Farmer, Roger E.A., 1999. "Indeterminacy and sunspots in macroeconomics," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 6, pages 387-448 Elsevier.
  17. Chauvet, Marcelle & Guo, Jang-Ting, 2003. "Sunspots, Animal Spirits, And Economic Fluctuations," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(01), pages 140-169, February.
  18. Wen, Yi, 1998. "Capacity Utilization under Increasing Returns to Scale," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 7-36, July.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Mark Weder, 2004. "The Role of Preference Shocks and Capital Utilization in the Great Depression," CDMA Working Paper Series 200405, Centre for Dynamic Macroeconomic Analysis.
  2. Nadenichek, Jon, 2007. "Consumer confidence and economic stagnation in Japan," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 338-346, August.
  3. Timothy J. Kehoe & Edward C. Prescott (), 2007. "Great depressions of the twentieth century," Monograph, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, number 2007gdott.
  4. Burda, Michael C & Severgnini, Battista, 2010. "Solow Residuals without Capital Stocks," CEPR Discussion Papers 7990, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Tarek Coury & Yi Wen, 2007. "Global indeterminacy in locally determinate RBC models," Working Papers 2007-029, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  6. Gauti B. Eggertsson, 2008. "Great Expectations and the End of the Depression," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1476-1516, September.
  7. Timothy Kehoe & Edward Prescott, 2002. "Data Appendix to Great Depressions of the Twentieth Century," Technical Appendices kehoe02, Review of Economic Dynamics.

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