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Was Debt Deflation Operative during the Great Depression?

Author

Listed:
  • James S. Fackler
  • Randall E. Parker

Abstract

We demonstrate three facts consistent with the debt deflation/credit view explanation of the Great Depression. First, private medium- and long-term nominal debt during the 1920 s exhibited a combination of a high initial value relative to income and a rapid growth rate that is unparalleled in a consistent data set covering more than half a century. Second, the debt issued during the 1920 s occurred in a stable price regime. Third, near the onset of the Depression, the price process switched to one of deflation. Taken together, the evidence suggests that debt deflation was operative during the Depression. (JEL E31, N22) Copyright 2005, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • James S. Fackler & Randall E. Parker, 2005. "Was Debt Deflation Operative during the Great Depression?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 43(1), pages 67-78, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ecinqu:v:43:y:2005:i:1:p:67-78
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/ei/cbi006
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Siklos, Pierre L., 2008. "The Fed's reaction to the stock market during the great depression: Fact or artefact?," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 164-184, April.
    2. Gregor W. Smith, 2006. "The spectre of deflation: a review of empirical evidence," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1041-1072, November.
    3. Christian Alexander Belabed, 2015. "Income Distribution and the Great Depression," IMK Working Paper 153-2015, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
    4. Binder, Carola Conces, 2016. "Estimation of historical inflation expectations," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 1-31.
    5. repec:eee:jmacro:v:52:y:2017:i:c:p:287-307 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Claudio Borio & Magdalena Erdem & Andrew Filardo & Boris Hofmann, 2015. "The costs of deflations: a historical perspective," BIS Quarterly Review, Bank for International Settlements, March.
    7. Eichengreen, Barry & Park, Donghyun & Shin, Kwanho, 2016. "Deflation in Asia: Should the Dangers Be Dismissed?," ADB Economics Working Paper Series 490, Asian Development Bank.
    8. Lars Jonung & Jaakko Kiander & Pentti Vartia, 2008. "The great financial crisis in Finland and Sweden - The dynamics of boom, bust and recovery, 1985-2000," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 350, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • N22 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-

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