IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/bpj/bejmac/vcontributions.6y2006i1n13.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Real Business Cycle Theory and the Great Depression: The Abandonment of the Abstentionist Viewpoint

Author

Listed:
  • De Vroey Michel R

    () (Department of Economics and IRES, Université catholique de Louvain)

  • Pensieroso Luca

    () (Department of Economics and IRES, Université catholique de Louvain)

Abstract

Is the Great Depression amenable to real business cycle theory? In the 1970s and 1980s Lucas and Prescott took an abstentionist stance. They maintained that, because of its exceptional character, an explanation of the Great Depression was beyond the grasp of the equilibrium approach to the business cycle. However, while Lucas stuck to this view, Prescott changed his mind at the end of the 1990s, breaking his earlier self-imposed restraint. In this paper we document this evolution of opinion and produce a first assessment of real business cycle models of the Great Depression. We claim that the fact of having constructed an equilibrium model of the Great Depression constitutes a methodological breakthrough. However, as far as substance is concerned, we argue that the contribution of real business cycle literature on the Great Depression is slim, and does not gain the upper hand over the work of economic historians.

Suggested Citation

  • De Vroey Michel R & Pensieroso Luca, 2006. "Real Business Cycle Theory and the Great Depression: The Abandonment of the Abstentionist Viewpoint," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 6(1), pages 1-26, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejmac:v:contributions.6:y:2006:i:1:n:13
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/bejm.2006.6.issue-1/bejm.2006.6.1.1403/bejm.2006.6.1.1403.xml?format=INT
    Download Restriction: For access to full text, subscription to the journal or payment for the individual article is required.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Harold L. Cole & Lee E. Ohanian, 2001. "Re-Examining the Contributions of Money and Banking Shocks to the U.S. Great Depression," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2000, Volume 15, pages 183-260 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Romer, Christina D., 1992. "What Ended the Great Depression?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(04), pages 757-784, December.
    3. Michel, DE VROEY, 2005. "Involuntary Unemployment : the Elusive Quest for a Theory," Discussion Papers (ECON - Département des Sciences Economiques) 2005004, Université catholique de Louvain, Département des Sciences Economiques.
    4. Bernanke, Ben S, 1995. "The Macroeconomics of the Great Depression: A Comparative Approach," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(1), pages 1-28, February.
    5. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, January.
    6. Lee E. Ohanian, 2002. "Why did productivity fall so much during the Great Depression?," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Spr.
    7. Christina D. Romer, 1990. "The Great Crash and the Onset of the Great Depression," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(3), pages 597-624.
    8. Brian Snowdon & Howard Vane, 1998. "Transforming macroeconomics: an interview with Robert E. Lucas Jr," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(1), pages 115-146.
    9. Harold L. Cole & Lee E. Ohanian, 2002. "The U.S. and U.K. Great Depressions Through the Lens of Neoclassical Growth Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 28-32, May.
    10. Edward C. Prescott, 1983. ""Can the cycle be reconciled with a consistent theory of expectations?" - or a progress report on business cycle theory," Working Papers 239, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    11. repec:cup:macdyn:v:3:y:1999:i:2:p:278-91 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Some skeptical observations on real business cycle theory," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall, pages 23-27.
    13. McCallum, Bennett T., 1999. "An Interview With Robert E. Lucas, Jr," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(02), pages 278-291, June.
    14. Rees, Albert, 1970. "On Equilibrium in Labor Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(2), pages 306-310, March-Apr.
    15. Timothy J. Kehoe & Edward C. Prescott, 2002. "Great Depressions of the Twentieth Century," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(1), pages 1-18, January.
    16. Luca Pensieroso, 2007. "Real Business Cycle Models Of The Great Depression: A Critical Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(1), pages 110-142, February.
    17. Barry Eichengreen & Peter Temin, 1997. "The Gold Standard and the Great Depression," NBER Working Papers 6060, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Lee Ohanian, 2000. "EconomicDynamics Interviews Lee Ohanian on the Great Depression," EconomicDynamics Newsletter, Review of Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(2), April.
    19. Harold L. Cole & Lee E. Ohanian, 2004. "New Deal Policies and the Persistence of the Great Depression: A General Equilibrium Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(4), pages 779-816, August.
    20. Edward C. Prescott, 1986. "Response to a skeptic," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall, pages 28-33.
    21. Timothy J. Kehoe & Edward C. Prescott(), 2007. "Great depressions of the twentieth century," Monograph, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, number 2007gdott.
    22. Edward C. Prescott, 1999. "Some observations on the Great Depression," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Win, pages 25-29.
    23. Yngve Abrahamsen & Roland Aeppli & Erdal Atukeren & Michael Graff & Christian Müller & Bernd Schips, 2005. "The Swiss Disease: Facts and Artefacts, A Reply to Kehoe and Prescott," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 8(3), pages 749-758, July.
    24. Harold L. Cole & Lee E. Ohanian, 1999. "The Great Depression in the United States from a neoclassical perspective," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Win, pages 2-24.
    25. Lucas, Robert E, Jr & Rapping, Leonard A, 1972. "Unemployment in the Great Depression: Is There a Full Explanation?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(1), pages 186-191, Jan.-Feb..
    26. Temin, Peter & Wigmore, Barrie A., 1990. "The end of one big deflation," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 483-502, October.
    27. Lucas, Robert E, Jr & Rapping, Leonard A, 1969. "Real Wages, Employment, and Inflation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 77(5), pages 721-754, Sept./Oct.
    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


    Cited by:

    1. Luca Pensieroso, 2011. "Real business cycle models of the Great Depression," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 5(2), pages 101-119, June.
    2. Franck Portier, 2008. "Interprétation d'épisodes historiques à l'aide de modèles dynamiques stochastiques d'équilibre général," Economie & Prévision, La Documentation Française, vol. 0(4), pages 33-46.
    3. Luca PENSIEROSO, 2010. "The Great Depression in Belgium: an Open-Economy Analysis," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2010023, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    4. Luca Pensieroso, 2011. "The Great Depression in Belgium from a Neoclassical Perspective," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 14(2), pages 389-402, Arpil.
    5. Eduardo Sanchez Astorino & Mauro Rodrigues Junior, 2014. "The Great Depression In Brazil," Anais do XL Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 40th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 035, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    6. Michel DeVroey, 2012. "Dead or Alive? The Ebbs and Flows of Keynesianism Over the History of Macroeconomics," Chapters,in: Keynes’s General Theory, chapter 4 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    7. Brian Snowdon, 2007. "The New Classical Counter-Revolution: False Path or Illuminating Complement?," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 541-562, Fall.
    8. Timothy J. Kehoe & Edward C. Prescott, 2008. "Using the general equilibrium growth model to study great depressions: a reply to Temin," Staff Report 418, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • B22 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Macroeconomics
    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bpj:bejmac:v:contributions.6:y:2006:i:1:n:13. 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: (Peter Golla). General contact details of provider: https://www.degruyter.com .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.