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Technology, Credit and Confidence during the Roaring Twenties


  • Sharon Harrison

    () (Barnard College, Columbia University)

  • Mark Weder

    () (University of Adelaide)


We compare and contrast alternative explanations of the Roaring Twenties. Starting with the RBC model as a benchmark, we also examine a model with indeterminacy and self-fulfilling expectations (SFE), and one with credit shocks. Historical and anecdotal evidence provides support for each of these set-ups. We use US data from 1889-1953 to estimate each of the relevant shocks, and the resulting model-driven output. Our results indicate that all three models replicate well the experience of the 1920s. We then estimate "horserace" regressions, which provide evidence of the explanatory power of each model above and beyond the others. Here the SFE model emerges as the winner, leading us to conclude that self-fulfilling confidence was the primary driving force behind the Roaring Twenties.

Suggested Citation

  • Sharon Harrison & Mark Weder, 2007. "Technology, Credit and Confidence during the Roaring Twenties," Working Papers 0901, Barnard College, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:brn:wpaper:0901

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    Sunspots; Indeterminacy; Credit Shocks; Roaring Twenties;

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • N12 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-


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