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What - or Who - Started the Great Depression?

  • 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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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
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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. 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.
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