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The recession of 1937 - a cautionary tale

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  • François R. Velde

Abstract

This article reviews the competing explanations offered for the recession of 1937, which interrupted the recovery from the Great Depression. One explanation, increases in labor costs due to the New Deal's industrial policies, fails to account for the full extent of the downturn and for the ensuing recovery. In contrast, monetary policy and fiscal policy seem to capture the downturn—although not its precise timing—and the recovery.

Suggested Citation

  • François R. Velde, 2009. "The recession of 1937 - a cautionary tale," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q IV, pages 16-37.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhep:y:2009:i:qiv:p:16-37:n:v.33no.4
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    File URL: http://www.chicagofed.org/digital_assets/publications/economic_perspectives/2009/ep_4qtr2009_part2_velde.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Miron, Jeffrey A. & Romer, Christina D., 1990. "A New Monthly Index of Industrial Production, 1884–1940," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 50(02), pages 321-337, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Timothy J. Hatton & Mark Thomas, 2012. "Labour Markets in Recession and Recovery: The UK and the USA in the 1920s and 1930s," CEH Discussion Papers 001, Centre for Economic History, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    2. Carlson, Mark A. & Wheelock, David C., 2014. "Navigating constraints: the evolution of Federal Reserve monetary policy, 1935-59," Working Papers 2014-13, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    3. Gabriel P. Mathy & Matthew Jaremski, 2016. "How Was the Quantitative Easing Program of the 1930s Unwound?," Working Papers 2016-01, American University, Department of Economics.
    4. Candelon, Bertrand & Metiu, Norbert & Straetmans, Stefan, 2013. "Disentangling economic recessions and depressions," Discussion Papers 43/2013, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    5. Nicholas Crafts & Peter Fearon, 2010. "Lessons from the 1930s Great Depression," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(3), pages 285-317, Autumn.
    6. Douglas A. Irwin, 2011. "Gold Sterilization and the Recession of 1937-38," NBER Working Papers 17595, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Chen, Tao & Gentle, Paul F., 2011. "The Inflation-Unemployment Trade-off and the Significance of the Interest Rate: Some Evidence from United States Data from 1939 through 2007 - Il trade-off tra disoccupazione e inflazione e il ruolo d," Economia Internazionale / International Economics, Camera di Commercio Industria Artigianato Agricoltura di Genova, pages 153-171.
    8. Albrecht Ritschl, 2012. "War 2008 das neue 1929? Richtige und falsche Vergleiche zwischen der Großen Depression der 1930er Jahre und der Großen Rezession von 2008," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 13, pages 36-57, May.

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    Keywords

    Recessions ; Monetary policy;

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