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On the aggregate welfare cost of Great Depression unemployment

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  • Satyajit Chatterjee
  • Dean Corbae

Abstract

The potential benefit of policies that eliminate a small likelihood of economic crises is calculated. An economic crisis is defined as an increase in unemployment of the magnitude observed during the Great Depression. For the U.S., the maximum-likelihood estimate of entering a depression is found to be about once every 83 years. The welfare gain from setting this small probability to zero can range between 1 and 7 percent of annual consumption in perpetuity. For most estimates, more than half of these large gains result from a reduction in individual consumption volatility. ; This paper supersedes Working Paper 03-20.

Suggested Citation

  • Satyajit Chatterjee & Dean Corbae, 2006. "On the aggregate welfare cost of Great Depression unemployment," Working Papers 06-18, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedpwp:06-18
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Javier Bianchi, 2011. "Overborrowing and Systemic Externalities in the Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3400-3426, December.
    2. Nicolas Petrosky-Nadeau & Lu Zhang, "undated". "Unemployment Crises," GSIA Working Papers 2013-E5, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
    3. Robert J. Barro & Jose F. Ursua, 2008. "Macroeconomic Crises since 1870," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 39(1 (Spring), pages 255-350.
    4. Cathy Q. Ning & Loran Chollete, 2009. "The Dependence Structure of Macroeconomic Variables in the US," Working Papers 005, Ryerson University, Department of Economics.
    5. Chollete, Loran & Jaffee, Dwight, 2009. "Economic Implications of Extreme and Rare Events," UiS Working Papers in Economics and Finance 2009/32, University of Stavanger.
    6. Robert J. Barro, 2009. "Rare Disasters, Asset Prices, and Welfare Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 243-264, March.
    7. Philip Jung & Keith Kuester, 2008. "The (un)importance of unemployment fluctuations for welfare," Working Papers 08-31, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, revised 29 Apr 2009.
    8. Ensar Yılmaz, 2014. "Welfare Costs of Business Cycles in Turkey," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(2), pages 195-211, May.
    9. Jung, Philip & Kuester, Keith, 2011. "The (un)importance of unemployment fluctuations for the welfare cost of business cycles," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 35(10), pages 1744-1768, October.
    10. Chollete, Loran & Ning, Cathy, 2010. "Asymmetric Dependence in US Financial Risk Factors?," UiS Working Papers in Economics and Finance 2011/2, University of Stavanger.
    11. Elena Mattana & Ettore Panetti, 2017. "The Welfare Costs of Self-Fulfilling Bank Runs," Working Papers REM 2017/17, ISEG - Lisbon School of Economics and Management, REM, Universidade de Lisboa.
    12. Satyajit Chatterjee & Dean Corbae, 2006. "Monetary and financial forces in the Great Depression," Working Papers 06-12, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    13. Daniel Aaronson & Bhashkar Mazumder & Shani Schechter, 2010. "What is behind the rise in long-term unemployment?," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q II, pages 28-51.

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    Keywords

    Depressions ; Unemployment;

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