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Great expectations and the end of the depression

  • Gauti B. Eggertsson

This paper argues that the U.S. economy's recovery from the Great Depression was driven by a shift in expectations brought about by the policy actions of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. On the monetary policy side, Roosevelt abolished the gold standard and-even more important-announced the policy objective of inflating the price level to pre-depression levels. On the fiscal policy side, Roosevelt expanded real and deficit spending. Together, these actions made his policy objective credible; they violated prevailing policy dogmas and introduced a policy regime change such as that described in work by Sargent and by Temin and Wigmore. The economic consequences of Roosevelt's policies are evaluated in a dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model with sticky prices and rational expectations.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Staff Reports with number 234.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:234
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  1. Cecchetti, Stephen G, 1992. "Prices during the Great Depression: Was the Deflation of 1930-1932 Really Unanticipated?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 141-56, March.
  2. Temin, Peter & Wigmore, Barrie A., 1990. "The end of one big deflation," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 483-502, October.
  3. Paul R. Krugman, 1998. "It's Baaack: Japan's Slump and the Return of the Liquidity Trap," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(2), pages 137-206.
  4. Gauti B. Eggertsson & Jonathan David Ostry, 2005. "Does Excess Liquidity Pose a Threat in Japan?," IMF Policy Discussion Papers 05/5, International Monetary Fund.
  5. Lawrence J. Christiano & Roberto Motto & Massimo Rostagno, 2004. "The Great Depression and the Friedman-Schwartz hypothesis," Working Paper 0318, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  6. Harrison, Sharon G & Weder, Mark, 2002. "Did Sunspot Forces Cause the Great Depression?," CEPR Discussion Papers 3267, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Bordo, Michael D. & Choudhri, Ehsan U. & Schwartz, Anna J., 2002. "Was Expansionary Monetary Policy Feasible during the Great Contraction? An Examination of the Gold Standard Constraint," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 1-28, January.
  8. Rotemberg, Julio J, 1982. "Sticky Prices in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1187-1211, December.
  9. Calvo, Guillermo A, 1978. "On the Time Consistency of Optimal Policy in a Monetary Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1411-28, November.
  10. J. Bradford De Long & Lawrence H. Summers, 1985. "Is Increased Price Flexibility Stabilizing?," NBER Working Papers 1686, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  12. Michael D. Bordo & Christopher J. Erceg & Charles L. Evans, 1997. "Money, sticky wages, and the Great Depression," International Finance Discussion Papers 591, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  13. Harrison, Sharon G. & Weder, Mark, 2002. "Did sunspot cause the Great Depression?," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 2002,35, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  14. Lars E.O. Svensson, 2003. "Escaping from a Liquidity Trap and Deflation: The Foolproof Way and Others," NBER Working Papers 10195, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Barro, Robert J, 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 940-71, October.
  16. Clarida, R. & Gali, J. & Gertler, M., 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," Working Papers 99-13, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  17. James Tobin, 1975. "Keynesian Models of Recession and Depression," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 387, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  18. Gauti B. Eggertsson & Michael Woodford, 2006. "Optimal Monetary and Fiscal Policy in a Liquidity Trap," NBER Chapters, in: NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2004, pages 75-144 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Cecchetti, Stephen G, 1988. "The Case of the Negative Nominal Interest Rates: New Estimates of the Term Structure of Interest Rates during the Great Depression," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(6), pages 1111-41, December.
  20. Olivier Jeanne & Lars E. O. Svensson, 2007. "Credible Commitment to Optimal Escape from a Liquidity Trap: The Role of the Balance Sheet of an Independent Central Bank," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 474-490, March.
  21. Romer, Christina D., 1988. "World War I and the postwar depression A reinterpretation based on alternative estimates of GNP," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 91-115, July.
  22. Eric Maskin & Jean Tirole, 1997. "Markov Perfect Equilibrium, I: Observable Actions," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1799, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  23. 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.
  24. Thomas J. Sargent & Neil Wallace, 1981. "Some unpleasant monetarist arithmetic," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall.
  25. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-91, June.
  26. Robert J. Barro & David B. Gordon, 1981. "A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural-Rate Model," NBER Working Papers 0807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. 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 157-78, March.
  28. Baxter, Marianne & King, Robert G, 1993. "Fiscal Policy in General Equilibrium," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 315-34, June.
  29. Lucas, Robert Jr. & Stokey, Nancy L., 1983. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy in an economy without capital," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 55-93.
  30. Gauti B. Eggertsson & Michael Woodford, 2003. "Optimal Monetary Policy in a Liquidity Trap," NBER Working Papers 9968, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  31. Thomas J. Sargent, 1981. "The ends of four big inflations," Working Papers 158, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  32. Eggertsson, Gauti B., 2006. "The Deflation Bias and Committing to Being Irresponsible," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 38(2), pages 283-321, March.
  33. Alan S. Blinder, 1999. "Central Banking in Theory and Practice," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262522608, June.
  34. Gauti B. Eggertsson & Michael Woodford, 2003. "The Zero Bound on Interest Rates and Optimal Monetary Policy," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 34(1), pages 139-235.
  35. Lawrence Summers, 1991. "Panel discussion: price stability ; How should long-term monetary policy be determined?," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 625-631.
  36. Christina D. Romer, 1991. "What Ended the Great Depression?," NBER Working Papers 3829, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  37. Calvo, Guillermo A., 1983. "Staggered prices in a utility-maximizing framework," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 383-398, September.
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