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The Liquidity Trap and U.S. Interest Rates in the 1930s

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  • Hanes, Christopher

Abstract

Most current literature assumes that a central bank loses the ability to influence interest rates through variations in reserve supply as soon as overnight rates have been driven to zero. I argue that reserve supply can be directly related to longer-term rates when overnight rates are zero because banks' reserve demand is then defined by the role of cash as an asset free of interest-rate risk. I present evidence that reserve supply affected longer-term interest rates in the U.S. from 1934 through 1939, while overnight rates were at the zero floor, even when the changes in reserve supply reflected factors unlikely to have affected expectations of future overnight rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Hanes, Christopher, 2006. "The Liquidity Trap and U.S. Interest Rates in the 1930s," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 38(1), pages 163-194, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcb:jmoncb:v:38:y:2006:i:1:p:163-194
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/mcb.2006.0017
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. João Braz Pinto & João Sousa Andrade, 2015. "A Monetary Analysis of the Liquidity Trap," GEMF Working Papers 2015-06, GEMF, Faculty of Economics, University of Coimbra.
    2. Calomiris, Charles W. & Mason, Joseph R. & Wheelock, David C., 2011. "Did Doubling Reserve Requirements Cause the Recession of 1937-1938? A Microeconomic Approach," Working Papers 11-03, University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School, Weiss Center.
    3. Caggiano, Giovanni & Castelnuovo, Efrem & Damette, Olivier & Parent, Antoine & Pellegrino, Giovanni, 2017. "Liquidity traps and large-scale financial crises," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 99-114.
    4. Chang, Su-Hsin & Contessi, Silvio & Francis, Johanna L., 2014. "Understanding the accumulation of bank and thrift reserves during the U.S. financial crisis," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 78-106.
    5. Peter J. Morgan, 2012. "The Role and Effectiveness of Unconventional Monetary Policy," Chapters,in: Monetary and Currency Policy Management in Asia, chapter 2 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    6. 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.
    7. Peter F. Basile & John Landon-Lane & Hugh Rockoff, 2010. "Money and Interest Rates in the United States during the Great Depression," NBER Working Papers 16204, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Le Riche, Antoine & Magris, Francesco & Parent, Antoine, 2017. "Liquidity Trap and stability of Taylor rules," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 16-27.
    9. 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.
    10. Michael Bordo & Andrew Filardo, 2005. "Deflation and monetary policy in a historical perspective: remembering the past or being condemned to repeat it?," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 20(44), pages 799-844, October.
    11. Peter F. Basile & Sung Won Kang & John Landon-Lane & Hugh Rockoff, 2015. "Towards a History of the Junk Bond Market, 1910-1955," NBER Working Papers 21559, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Douglas A. Irwin, 2011. "Gold Sterilization and the Recession of 1937-38," NBER Working Papers 17595, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Jon Cohen & Kinda Cheryl Hachem & Gary Richardson, 2016. "Relationship Lending and the Great Depression: New Measurement and Implications," NBER Working Papers 22891, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Peter F. Basile & Sung Won Kang & John Landon-Lane & Hugh Rockoff, 2015. "Towards a History of the Junk Bond Market, 1910-1955," Departmental Working Papers 201514, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.

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