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The role of real wages, productivity and fiscal policy in Germany's Great Depression 1928-1937

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  • Jonas D. M. Fisher
  • Andreas Hornstein

Abstract

We study the behavior of output, employment, consumption, and investment in Germany during the Great Depression of 1928-37. In this time period, real wages were countercyclical, and productivity and fiscal policy were procyclical. We use the neoclassical growth model to investigate how much these factors contribute to the Depression. We find that real wages, which were significantly above their market clearing levels, were the most important factor for the economic decline in the Depression. Changes in productivity and fiscal policy were also important for the decline and recovery. Even though our analysis is limited to a small number of factors, the model accounts surprisingly well for the Depression in Germany.

Suggested Citation

  • Jonas D. M. Fisher & Andreas Hornstein, 2001. "The role of real wages, productivity and fiscal policy in Germany's Great Depression 1928-1937," Working Paper Series WP-01-07, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:wp-01-07
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    File URL: http://www.chicagofed.org/digital_assets/publications/working_papers/2001/wp2001-07.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Craig Burnside & Martin Eichenbaum & Jonas D. M. Fisher, 1999. "Assessing the effects of fiscal shocks," Working Paper Series WP-99-18, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    2. Harold L. Cole & Lee E. Ohanian, 1999. "The Great Depression in the United States from a neoclassical perspective," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Win, pages 2-24.
    3. Ritschl Albrecht & Spoerer Mark, 1997. "Das Bruttosozialprodukt in Deutschland nach den amtlichen Volkseinkommens- und Sozialproduktsstatistiken 1901-1995," Jahrbuch für Wirtschaftsgeschichte / Economic History Yearbook, De Gruyter, vol. 38(2), pages 27-54, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Albrecht Ritschl & Monique Ebell, 2007. "Real Origins of the Great Depression: Monopoly Power, Unions and the American Business Cycle in the 1920s," 2007 Meeting Papers 712, Society for Economic Dynamics.

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    Keywords

    Fiscal policy ; Productivity ; Wages ; Germany;

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