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Chronicles of a deflation unforetold

  • François Velde

Suppose the nominal money supply could be cut literally overnight by, say, 20%. What would happen to prices, wages, output? The answer can be found in 1720s France, where just such an experiment was carried out, repeatedly. Prices adjusted instantaneously and fully on one market only, that for foreign exchange. Prices on other markets (such as commodities) as well as prices of manufactured goods and industrial wages fell slowly, over many months, and not by the full amount of the nominal reduction. Coincidentally or not, the industrial sector (as represented by manufacturing of woolen cloths) experienced a contraction of 30%. When the government changed course and increased the nominal money supply overnight by 20%, prices responded much more, and the woolen industry rebounded.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in its series Working Paper Series with number WP-06-12.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:wp-06-12
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  1. Guillaume Daudin, 2005. "France," Post-Print hal-01065990, HAL.
  2. Mirko Wiederholt & Bartosz Mackowiak, 2005. "Optimal Sticky Prices under Rational Inattention," 2005 Meeting Papers 369, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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  4. François Velde, 2003. "Government equity and money: John Law’s system in 1720 France," Working Paper Series WP-03-31, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  5. N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis, 2001. "Sticky Information Versus Sticky Prices: A Proposal to Replace the New Keynesian Phillips Curve," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1922, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
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  8. Marvin Goodfriend & Robert King, 1997. "The New Neoclassical Synthesis and the Role of Monetary Policy," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 231-296 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Bomfim, Antulio N & Diebold, Francis X, 1997. "Bonded Rationality and Strategic Complementarity in a Macroeconomic Model: Policy Effects, Persistence and Multipliers," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(444), pages 1358-74, September.
  10. Alogoskoufis, George S & Smith, Ron, 1991. "The Phillips Curve, the Persistence of Inflation, and the Lucas Critique: Evidence from Exchange-Rate Regimes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1254-75, December.
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  13. Bordo, Michael D, 1995. "Is There a Good Case for a New Bretton Woods International Monetary System?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 317-22, May.
  14. Hetzel,Robert L., 2008. "The Monetary Policy of the Federal Reserve," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521881326, December.
  15. Gomez, Victor, 2001. "The Use of Butterworth Filters for Trend and Cycle Estimation in Economic Time Series," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 19(3), pages 365-73, July.
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  17. J. Bradford De Long & Lawrence H. Summers, 1985. "Is Increased Price Flexibility Stabilizing?," NBER Working Papers 1686, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. John Haltiwanger & Michael Waldman, 1989. "Limited Rationality and Strategic Complements: The Implications for Macroeconomics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(3), pages 463-483.
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