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Aggregate price shocks and financial instability: a historical analysis

  • Michael D. Bordo
  • Michael J. Dueker
  • David C. Wheelock

This paper presents empirical evidence on the hypothesis that aggregate price disturbances cause or worsen financial distress. We construct two annual indexes of financial conditions for the United States covering 1790-1997, and estimate the effect of aggregate price shocks on each index using a dynamic ordered probit model. We find that price level shocks contributed to financial instability during 1790-1933, and that inflation rate shocks contributed to financial instability during 1980-97. Our research indicates that the size of the aggregate price shocks needed to qualitatively alter financial conditions depends on the institutional environment, but that a monetary policy focused on price stability would be conducive to financial stability.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its series Working Papers with number 2000-005.

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Date of creation: 2001
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Economic Inquiry, October 2002, 40(4), pp. 521-38
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2000-005
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  1. Chib, Siddhartha, 1996. "Calculating posterior distributions and modal estimates in Markov mixture models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 79-97, November.
  2. Reinhart, Carmen & Kaminsky, Graciela, 1999. "The twin crises: The causes of banking and balance of payments problems," MPRA Paper 14081, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Michael D. Bordo & Michael J. Dueker & David C. Wheelock, 2002. "Aggregate Price Shocks and Financial Instability: A Historical Analysis," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 40(4), pages 521-538, October.
  4. Eichengreen, Barry & Watson, Mark W & Grossman, Richard S, 1985. "Bank Rate Policy under the Interwar Gold Standard: A Dynamic Probit Model," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 95(379), pages 725-45, September.
  5. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1973. "Some International Evidence on Output-Inflation Tradeoffs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(3), pages 326-34, June.
  6. Robert B. Barsky, 1986. "The Fisher Hypothesis and the Forecastability and Persistence of Inflation," NBER Working Papers 1927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Frederic S. Mishkin, 1990. "Asymmetric Information and Financial Crises: A Historical Perspective," NBER Working Papers 3400, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Bordo, Michael D. & Schwartz, Anna J., 1999. "Monetary policy regimes and economic performance: The historical record," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 3, pages 149-234 Elsevier.
  9. Weber, Ernst Juerg, 1986. "The causes of bank failures: deflationary spells," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 359-362.
  10. 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.
  11. Michael Dueker, 1998. "Conditional heteroskedasticity in qualitative response models of time series: a Gibbs sampling approach to the bank prime rate," Working Papers 1998-011, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  12. Gray, Jo Anna & Spencer, David E, 1990. "Price Prediction Errors and Real Activity: A Reassessment," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 28(4), pages 658-81, October.
  13. Gerald P. Dwyer, Jr. & R. Alton Gilbert, 1989. "Bank runs and private remedies," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 43-61.
  14. Milton Friedman & Anna Jacobson Schwartz, 1970. "Monetary Statistics of the United States: Estimates, Sources, Methods," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie70-1, July.
  15. Barry Eichengreen and Richard S. Grossman., 1994. "Debt Deflation and Financial Instability: Two Historical Explorations," Economics Working Papers 94-231, University of California at Berkeley.
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