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What Ended the Great Depression? Reevaluating the Role of Fiscal Policy

  • Nathan Perry
  • Matias Vernengo

Conventional wisdom contends that fiscal policy was of secondary importance to the economic recovery in the 1930s. The recovery is then connected to monetary policy that allowed non-sterilized gold inflows to increase the money supply. Often, this is shown by measuring the fiscal multipliers, and demonstrating that they were relatively small. This paper shows that problems with the conventional measures of fiscal multipliers in the 1930s may have created an incorrect consensus on the irrelevance of fiscal policy. The rehabilitation of fiscal policy is seen as a necessary step in the reinterpretation of the positive role of New Deal policies for the recovery.

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Paper provided by Levy Economics Institute in its series Economics Working Paper Archive with number wp_678.

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Date of creation: Jul 2011
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Handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_678
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.levyinstitute.org

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  1. Blomström, Magnus & Lipsey, Robert E & Zejan, Mario, 1993. "Is Fixed Investment the Key to Economic Growth?," CEPR Discussion Papers 870, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Lawrence J. Christiano & Roberto Motto & Massimo Rostagno, 2003. "The Great Depression and the Friedman-Schwartz hypothesis," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 1119-1215.
  3. Michael D. Bordo & Claudia Goldin & Eugene N. White, 1998. "The Defining Moment: The Great Depression and the American Economy in the Twentieth Century," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bord98-1.
  4. Lawrence Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 2009. "When is the government spending multiplier large?," NBER Working Papers 15394, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Miguel Almunia & Agustín S. Bénétrix & Barry Eichengreen & Kevin H. O'Rourke & Gisela Rua, 2009. "From Great Depression to Great Credit Crisis: Similarities, Differences and Lessons," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp303, IIIS.
  6. Peter Temin, 1991. "Lessons from the Great Depression," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262700441, June.
  7. Sims, Christopher A, 1980. "Macroeconomics and Reality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(1), pages 1-48, January.
  8. Greg Hannsgen & Dimitri B. Papadimitriou, 2009. "Fiscal Stimulus, Job Creation, and the Economy: What Are the Lessons of the New Deal?," Economics Policy Note Archive 09-10, Levy Economics Institute.
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