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The Strategy and Consistency of Federal Reserve Monetary Policy, 1924–1933

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  • Wheelock,David C.

Abstract

Today, most scholars agree that mismanaged monetary policy contributed to the length and severity of the Great Depression in the USA. There is little agreement, however, about the causes of the Federal Reserve's mistakes. This book examines the policy strategy developed by the Federal Reserve during the 1920s and considers whether its continued use could explain the Federal Reserve's failure to respond vigorously to the depression. It also studies the effects on policy of the institutional changes occurring prior to the depression. While these changes enhanced the authority of officials who opposed open-market purchases and also caused some upward bias in discount rates, Wheelock concludes that monetary policy during the depression was in fact largely a continuation of the previous policy. The apparent contrast in the institution's responsiveness to economic conditions between the 1920s and early 1930s resulted from the consistent use of a procyclical policy strategy that caused it to respond more vigorously to minor recessions than to severe depressions.

Suggested Citation

  • Wheelock,David C., 2004. "The Strategy and Consistency of Federal Reserve Monetary Policy, 1924–1933," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521531399.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:cbooks:9780521531399
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    Cited by:

    1. Bordo, Michael D., 2012. "Could the United States have had a better central bank? An historical counterfactual speculation," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 597-607.
    2. Steindl, Frank G., 1998. "The Decline of a Paradigm: The Quantity Theory and Recovery in the 1930s," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 821-841, October.
    3. Bullard, James & Cho, In-Koo, 2005. "Escapist policy rules," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 29(11), pages 1841-1865, November.
    4. 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.
    5. Bordo, Michael D., 2014. "Rules for a lender of last resort: An historical perspective," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 126-134.
    6. Klug, Adam & Landon-Lane, John S. & White, Eugene N., 2005. "How could everyone have been so wrong? Forecasting the Great Depression with the railroads," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 27-55, January.
    7. Charles Calomiris & David Wheelock, 1998. "Was the Great Depression a Watershed for American Monetary Policy?," NBER Chapters,in: The Defining Moment: The Great Depression and the American Economy in the Twentieth Century, pages 23-66 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Eric Leeper & James Nason, 2014. "Bringing Financial Stability into Monetary Policy," Caepr Working Papers 2014-003, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
    9. Carlson, Mark A. & Wheelock, David C., 2016. "Did the Founding of the Federal Reserve Affect the Vulnerability of the Interbank System to Congation Risk?," Working Papers 2016-12, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, revised 06 Oct 2017.
    10. Norikazu Takami, 2011. "Pigou on business cycles and unemployment: an anti-gold-standard view," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(2), pages 203-215.
    11. Carlson, Mark A. & Wheelock, David C., 2016. "Did the Founding of the Federal Reserve Affect the Vulnerability of the Interbank System to Systemic Risk?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2016-059, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    12. John H. Huston & Roger W. Spencer, 2009. "Speculative excess and the Federal Reserve's response," Studies in Economics and Finance, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 26(1), pages 46-61, March.
    13. Bordo, Michael D. & MacDonald, Ronald, 2003. "The inter-war gold exchange standard: credibility and monetary independence," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 1-32, February.
    14. Peter Temin, 1998. "The Causes of American Business Cycles: An Essay in Economic Historiography," NBER Working Papers 6692, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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