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Labor Market Policies and the "Missing Deflation" Puzzle: Lessons from Hoover Policies during the U.S Great Depression

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  • Jordan Roulleau-Pasdeloup
  • Anastasia Zhutova

Abstract

We document the existence of a "missing deflation" puzzle during the U.S. Great Depression (1929-1941) and show that the solution of this puzzle lies in Hoover policies. Herbert Hoover made multiple public announcements asking firms not to cut wages, most of which complied. The consequences of such a policy are ambiguous since it affects aggregate fluctuations via two channels: as a negative aggregate supply shock this policy decreases output while increasing inflation, but more inflation can postpone the occurrence of a liquidity trap when the economy is hit by a large negative aggregate demand shock. We develop and estimate a medium scale New Keynesian model to measure the effect of Hoover policies during the Great Depression and we find evidence that without such polices the U.S. economy would have ended up in a liquidity trap two years before it actually did, suffering an even deeper recession with a larger deflation. In addition, the welfare effects of Hoover policy are found to be clearly positive.

Suggested Citation

  • Jordan Roulleau-Pasdeloup & Anastasia Zhutova, 2015. "Labor Market Policies and the "Missing Deflation" Puzzle: Lessons from Hoover Policies during the U.S Great Depression," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 15.05, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
  • Handle: RePEc:lau:crdeep:15.05
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    Cited by:

    1. Lee E. Ohanian, 2016. "The Great Recession in the Shadow of the Great Depression: A Review Essay on “Hall of Mirrors: The Great Depression, The Great Recession and the Uses and Misuses Of History”," NBER Working Papers 22239, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Zero lower bound; Deflation; Great Depression;

    JEL classification:

    • C11 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Bayesian Analysis: General
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • N12 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-

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