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What - or Who - Started the Great Depression?

Listed author(s):
  • Lee E. Ohanian

Herbert Hoover. I develop a theory of labor market failure for the Depression based on Hoover's industrial labor program that provided industry with protection from unions in return for keeping nominal wages fixed. I find that the theory accounts for much of the depth of the Depression and for the asymmetry of the depression across sectors. The theory also can reconcile why deflation/low nominal spending apparently had such large real effects during the 1930s, but not during other periods of significant deflation.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w15258.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15258.

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Date of creation: Aug 2009
Publication status: published as Ohanian, Lee E., 2009. "What - or who - started the great depression?," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(6), pages 2310-2335, November.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15258
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  1. Christopher J. Erceg & Michael D. Bordo & Charles L. Evans, 2000. "Money, Sticky Wages, and the Great Depression," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1447-1463, December.
  2. Milton Friedman & Anna J. Schwartz, 1963. "A Monetary History of the United States, 1867–1960," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie63-1.
  3. William E. Kovacic & Carl Shapiro, 2003. "Antitrust Policy: A Century of Economic and Legal Thinking," Law and Economics 0303006, EconWPA.
  4. Reicher, Christopher Phillip, 2009. "Expectations, monetary policy, and labor markets: lessons from the Great Depression," Kiel Working Papers 1543, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
  5. Sanford M. Jacoby & Sunil Sharma, 1991. "Employment Duration and Industrial Labor Mobility in the United States, 1880-1980," UCLA Economics Working Papers 618, UCLA Department of Economics.
  6. V V Chari & Patrick J Kehoe & Ellen R. McGrattan, 2003. "Business Cycle Accounting," Levine's Bibliography 506439000000000421, UCLA Department of Economics.
  7. Harold L. Cole & Lee E. Ohanian, 2004. "New Deal Policies and the Persistence of the Great Depression: A General Equilibrium Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(4), pages 779-816, August.
  8. John W. Kendrick, 1961. "Productivity Trends in the United States," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number kend61-1.
  9. Simon, Curtis J., 2001. "The Supply Price Of Labor During The Great Depression," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 61(04), pages 877-903, December.
  10. Paul Lanoie & Francois Raymond & Bruce Shearer, 2001. "Work sharing and productivity: evidence from firm level data," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(9), pages 1213-1220.
  11. Ralph C. Epstein & Florence M. Clark, 1934. "Industrial Profits in the United States," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number epst34-1.
  12. Anthony Patrick O'Brien, 1989. "A Behavioral Explanation for Nominal Wage Rigidity During the Great Depression," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(4), pages 719-735.
  13. Fumio Hayashi & Edward C. Prescott, 2002. "Data Appendix to The 1990s in Japan: A Lost Decade," Technical Appendices hayashi02, Review of Economic Dynamics.
  14. Victoria Osuna Padilla & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 2002. "Implementing the 35 Hour Workweek by Means of Overtime Taxation," Economic Working Papers at Centro de Estudios Andaluces E2002/04, Centro de Estudios Andaluces.
  15. Ben S. Bernanke, 1994. "The Macroeconomics of the Great Depression: A Comparative Approach," NBER Working Papers 4814, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Barry Eichengreen, 1992. "Golden Fetters: The Gold Standard and the Great Depression, 1919-1939," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number eich92-1.
  17. Lucas, Robert E, Jr & Rapping, Leonard A, 1969. "Real Wages, Employment, and Inflation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 77(5), pages 721-754, Sept./Oct.
  18. Casey B. Mulligan, 2005. "Public policies as specification errors," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 8(4), pages 902-926, October.
  19. Fumio Hayashi & Edward C. Prescott, 2000. "The 1990s in Japan: a lost decade," Working Papers 607, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  20. Kydland, Finn E. & Prescott, Edward C., 1988. "The workweek of capital and its cyclical implications," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 343-360.
  21. R. Anton Braun & Ellen R. McGrattan, 1993. "The Macroeconomics of War and Peace," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1993, Volume 8, pages 197-258 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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