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Harvests and Business Cycles in Nineteenth-Century America

  • Joseph H. Davis

    (Vanguard Group and National Bureau of Economic Research.)

  • Christopher Hanes

    (State University of New York at Binghamton.)

  • Paul W. Rhode

    (University of Arizona and National Bureau of Economic Research.)

Most major American industrial business cycles from around 1880 to the First World War were caused by fluctuations in the size of the cotton harvest due to economically exogenous factors such as weather. Wheat and corn harvests did not affect industrial production; nor did the cotton harvest before the late 1870s. The unique effect of the cotton harvest in this period can be explained as an essentially monetary phenomenon, the result of interactions between harvests, international gold flows, and high-powered money demand under America's gold-standard regime of 1879-1914. (c) 2009 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology..

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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 124 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Pages: 1675-1727

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:qjecon:v:124:y:2009:i:4:p:1675-1727
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  4. Joseph H. Davis & Christopher Hanes & Paul W. Rhode, 2009. "Harvests and Business Cycles in Nineteenth-Century America," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1675-1727, November.
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