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The Meaning of Money in the Great Depression

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  • Hugh Rockoff

Abstract

The quality of the money stock declined during the banking crises of the early 1930s. Bank deposits did not serve as a secure short- term store of purchasing power for use in an emergency as well as they had previously, and during the periods of restricted deposits in late 1932 and early 1933, bank deposits could not fulfill their basic function of being a medium of exchange. This paper presents some evidence to show that the decline in the quality of the money stock contributed to the severity of the contraction.

Suggested Citation

  • Hugh Rockoff, 1993. "The Meaning of Money in the Great Depression," NBER Historical Working Papers 0052, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberhi:0052
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Grossman Richard S., 1993. "The Macroeconomic Consequences of Bank Failures under the National Banking System," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 294-320, July.
    2. 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 1111-1141, December.
    3. Bernanke, Ben S, 1983. "Nonmonetary Effects of the Financial Crisis in Propagation of the Great Depression," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(3), pages 257-276, June.
    4. Ben Bemanke & Harold James, 1991. "The Gold Standard, Deflation, and Financial Crisis in the Great Depression: An International Comparison," NBER Chapters,in: Financial Markets and Financial Crises, pages 33-68 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Peter Temin, 1991. "Lessons from the Great Depression," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262700441, January.
    6. 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, June.
    7. Haubrich, Joseph G., 1990. "Nonmonetary effects of financial crises : Lessons from the great depression in Canada," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 223-252, March.
    8. Hugh Rockoff, 2000. "Henry Calvert Simons and the Quantity Theory of Money," Departmental Working Papers 200003, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Merrouche, Ouarda & Nier, Erlend, 2012. "Payment systems, inside money and financial intermediation," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 359-382.
    2. Mark Carlson & Jonathan D. Rose, 2015. "Credit Availability and the Collapse of the Banking Sector in the 1930s," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 47(7), pages 1239-1271, October.
    3. Adam B. Ashcraft, 2005. "Are Banks Really Special? New Evidence from the FDIC-Induced Failure of Healthy Banks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1712-1730, December.
    4. Charles W. Calomiris & Joseph R. Mason, 2003. "Consequences of Bank Distress During the Great Depression," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 937-947, June.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N11 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913

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