Did Monetary Forces Cause the Great Depression?
This paper recasts Temin's (1976) question of whether monetary forces caused the Great Depression in a modern time series framework. We analyse money-income causalities and predict US output in a recursive Bayesian framework, allowing for information updating and time-varying coefficients. The predictive power of money aggregates and the Fed discount rate is in general very weak and collapses after the crisis of the gold standard in 1931. In contrast, non-monetary variables, particularly leading indicators of residential construction and equipment investment, have impressive forecasting power, forecasting almost half the output decline already in mid-1929. Our recursive framework also allows examination of the stability of our estimated dynamic parameters. Recursive estimates of the monetary impulse responses exhibit remarkable structural instability and strongly react to monetary regime changes during the depression. This phenomenon is discomforting in the light of the Lucas (1976) critique, as it suggests that the money/income relationship may be endogenous to policy and was not in the set of deep parameters of the US economy. Given the instability and poor predictive power of monetary instruments and the strong showing of leading indicators of real activity, we remain skeptical about a monetary interpretation of the Great Depression in the US.
|Date of creation:||Sep 2000|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Centre for Economic Policy Research, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ.|
Phone: 44 - 20 - 7183 8801
Fax: 44 - 20 - 7183 8820
|Order Information:|| Email: |
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Mayer, Thomas, 1978. "Money and the Great Depression: A critique of professor Temin's thesis," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 127-145, April.
- 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.
- John Landon-Lane & Eugene N. White & Adam Klug, 2002. "How Could Everyone Have Been So Wrong? Forecasting the Great Depression with the Railroads," NBER Working Papers 9011, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Eugene N. White & John Landon-Lane & Adam Klug, 2002. "How Could Everyone Have Been So Wrong? Forecasting The Great Depression With The Railroads," Departmental Working Papers 200209, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
- Nathan Balke & Robert J. Gordon, 1986. "Appendix B: Historical Data," NBER Chapters,in: The American Business Cycle: Continuity and Change, pages 781-850 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Evans, Martin & Wachtel, Paul, 1993. "Were price changes during the Great Depression anticipated? : Evidence from nominal interest rates," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 3-34, August.
- Martin Evans & Paul Wachtel, 1992. "Were Price Changes during the Great Depression Anticipated? Evidence from Nominal Interest Rates," Working Papers 92-12, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
- Hamilton, James D, 1992. "Was the Deflation during the Great Depression Anticipated? Evidence from the Commodity Futures Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 157-178, March.
- Thomas Doan & Robert B. Litterman & Christopher A. Sims, 1983. "Forecasting and Conditional Projection Using Realistic Prior Distributions," NBER Working Papers 1202, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Thomas Doan & Robert B. Litterman & Christopher A. Sims, 1986. "Forecasting and conditional projection using realistic prior distribution," Staff Report 93, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
- Dominguez, Kathryn M & Fair, Ray C & Shapiro, Matthew D, 1988. "Forecasting the Depression: Harvard versus Yale," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 595-612, September.
- Ray C. Fair & Matthew D. Shapiro & Kathryn M. Dominguez, 1986. "Forecasting the Depression: Harvard Versus Yale," NBER Working Papers 2095, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Ray C. Fair & Matthew D. Shapiro & Kathryn M. Dominguez, 1986. "Forecasting the Depression: Harvard Versus Yale," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 808, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
- Sims, Christopher A, 1980. "Macroeconomics and Reality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(1), pages 1-48, January.
- Uhlig, Harald, 1994. "What Macroeconomists Should Know about Unit Roots: A Bayesian Perspective," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(3-4), pages 645-671, August.
- Sims, Christopher A & Uhlig, Harald, 1991. "Understanding Unit Rooters: A Helicopter Tour," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(6), pages 1591-1599, November.
- Christopher A. Sims & Harald Uhlig, 1988. "Understanding unit rooters: a helicopter tour," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 4, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
- repec:cup:etheor:v:10:y:1994:i:3-4:p:645-71 is not listed on IDEAS
- Eric M. Leeper & Christopher A. Sims & Tao Zha, 1996. "What Does Monetary Policy Do?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 27(2), pages 1-78.
- Hamilton, James D, 1989. "A New Approach to the Economic Analysis of Nonstationary Time Series and the Business Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 357-384, March.
- Hamilton, James D., 1987. "Monetary factors in the great depression," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 145-169, March.
- Edward C. Prescott, 1999. "Some observations on the Great Depression," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Win, pages 25-29.
- Robert J. Gordon & James A. Wilcox, 1978. "Monetarist Interpretations of the Great Depression: An Evaluation and Critique," NBER Working Papers 0300, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)