IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/16380.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The End of the Great Depression 1939-41: Policy Contributions and Fiscal Multipliers

Author

Listed:
  • Robert J. Gordon
  • Robert Krenn

Abstract

This paper is about the size of fiscal multipliers and the sources of recovery from the Great Depression. Its baseline result is that 89.1 percent of the 1939:Q1-1941:Q4 recovery can be attributed to fiscal policy innovations, 34.1 percent to monetary policy innovations and the remaining -23.2 percent to the combined effect of the basic VAR dynamic forecast and innovations in non-government components of GDP. Traditional Keynesian multipliers assume that there are no capacity constraints to impede a fiscal-driven expansion in aggregate demand. On the contrary, we find ample evidence of capacity constraints in 1941, particularly in the second half of that year. As a result our preferred government spending multiplier is 1.80 when the time period ends in 1941:Q2 but only 0.88 when the time period ends in supply-constrained 1941:Q4. Only the 1.80 multiplier is relevant to situations like 2009-10 when capacity constraints are absent across the economy. Two sets of new insights emerge from a review of contemporary print media. We document that the American economy went to war starting in June 1940, fully 18 months before Pearl Harbor. We also detail the bifurcated nature of the 1941 economy, with excess capacity in its labor market but capacity constraints in many of the key manufacturing industries. By July 1941, the American economy was in a state of perceived national emergency.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert J. Gordon & Robert Krenn, 2010. "The End of the Great Depression 1939-41: Policy Contributions and Fiscal Multipliers," NBER Working Papers 16380, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16380
    Note: EFG
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w16380.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Valerie A. Ramey, 2011. "Identifying Government Spending Shocks: It's all in the Timing," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(1), pages 1-50.
    2. Gauti B. Eggertsson, 2008. "Great Expectations and the End of the Depression," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1476-1516, September.
    3. Lawrence Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 2011. "When Is the Government Spending Multiplier Large?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(1), pages 78-121.
    4. Robert E. Hall, 2009. "By How Much Does GDP Rise If the Government Buys More Output?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 40(2 (Fall)), pages 183-249.
    5. Chow, Gregory C & Lin, An-loh, 1971. "Best Linear Unbiased Interpolation, Distribution, and Extrapolation of Time Series by Related Series," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 53(4), pages 372-375, November.
    6. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Christopher Erceg & Jesper Lindé, 2014. "Is There A Fiscal Free Lunch In A Liquidity Trap?," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 73-107, February.
    2. Jesper Lindé & Mathias Trabandt, 2018. "Should we use linearized models to calculate fiscal multipliers?," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 33(7), pages 937-965, November.
    3. Jonathan A. Parker, 2011. "On Measuring the Effects of Fiscal Policy in Recessions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(3), pages 703-718, September.
    4. Trimborn, Timo & Strulik, Holger, 2011. "The Dark Side of Fiscal Stimulus," VfS Annual Conference 2011 (Frankfurt, Main): The Order of the World Economy - Lessons from the Crisis 48725, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    5. Alan J. Auerbach & William G. Gale, 2009. "Activist fiscal policy to stabilize economic activity," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 327-374.
    6. Nicoletta Batini & Luc Eyraud & Anke Weber, 2014. "A Simple Method to Compute Fiscal Multipliers," IMF Working Papers 2014/093, International Monetary Fund.
    7. Hafedh Bouakez & Michel Guillard & Jordan Roulleau-Pasdeloup, 2017. "Public Investment, Time to Build, and the Zero Lower Bound," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 23, pages 60-79, January.
    8. Atems, Bebonchu, 2019. "The effects of government spending shocks: Evidence from U.S. states," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 65-80.
    9. Sebastian Gechert, 2015. "What fiscal policy is most effective? A meta-regression analysis," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(3), pages 553-580.
    10. Oh, Hyunseung & Reis, Ricardo, 2012. "Targeted transfers and the fiscal response to the great recession," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(S), pages 50-64.
    11. Kim, Hyeongwoo & Zhang, Shuwei, 2018. "Understanding Why Fiscal Stimulus Can Fail through the Lens of the Survey of Professional Forecasters," MPRA Paper 89326, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Miguel Almunia & Agustín Bénétrix & Barry Eichengreen & Kevin H. O’Rourke & Gisela Rua, 2010. "From Great Depression to Great Credit Crisis: similarities, differences and lessons [Germany: Guns, butter, and economic miracles]," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 25(62), pages 219-265.
    13. Quaghebeur, Ewoud, 2019. "Learning And The Size Of The Government Spending Multiplier," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 23(8), pages 3189-3224, December.
    14. Chibi Abderrahim & Chekouri Sidi Mohamed & Benbouziane Mohamed, 2019. "The Impact of Fiscal Policy on Economic Activity over the Business Cycle: An Empirical Investigation in the Case of Algeria," Review of Middle East Economics and Finance, De Gruyter, vol. 15(3), pages 1-23, December.
    15. Dupaigne, Martial & Fève, Patrick, 2016. "Persistent government spending and fiscal multipliers: The investment-channel," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 425-453.
    16. Alan J. Auerbach & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2012. "Measuring the Output Responses to Fiscal Policy," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 1-27, May.
    17. Olivier Marie, 2016. "Police and thieves in the stadium: measuring the (multiple) effects of football matches on crime," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 179(1), pages 273-292, January.
    18. Ilzetzki, Ethan & Mendoza, Enrique G. & Végh, Carlos A., 2013. "How big (small?) are fiscal multipliers?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 239-254.
    19. Jia, Bijie & Kim, Hyeongwoo, 2015. "Government Spending Shocks and Private Activity: The Role of Sentiments," MPRA Paper 66263, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    20. Felix Reichling & Charles Whalen, 2015. "The Fiscal Multiplier and Economic Policy Analysis in the United States: Working Paper 2015-02," Working Papers 49925, Congressional Budget Office.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E01 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Measurement and Data on National Income and Product Accounts and Wealth; Environmental Accounts
    • E2 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment
    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • E5 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • N42 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • N62 - Economic History - - Manufacturing and Construction - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16380. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.