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Trade, Exchange Rate Regimes and Output Co-Movement: Evidence from the Great Depression

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  • Gabriel P. Mathy
  • Christopher M. Meissner

Abstract

A large body of cross-country empirical evidence identifies monetary policy and trade integration as key determinants of business cycle co-movement. Partially consistent with this, many argue that the re-emergence of the gold standard allowed for the global transmission of a deflationary shock in 1929 that culminated in the Great Depression. It is puzzling then to see decreased co-movement between 1920 and 1927 when international integration increased and nations returned to the gold standard. Fixed exchange rates and global trade were also on the rise after 1932, but co-movement declined again. Our empirical results shows that exchange rate regimes and trade were associated with higher co-movement at the bilateral level while common shocks and exchange control policies also mattered. Much of the fall after 1932 was driven by the rise of smaller blocs of monetary and trade cooperation and an inter-bloc fall in co-movement.

Suggested Citation

  • Gabriel P. Mathy & Christopher M. Meissner, 2011. "Trade, Exchange Rate Regimes and Output Co-Movement: Evidence from the Great Depression," NBER Working Papers 16925, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16925
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Julian di Giovanni & Andrei A. Levchenko, 2010. "Putting the Parts Together: Trade, Vertical Linkages, and Business Cycle Comovement," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 95-124, April.
    2. Straumann, Tobias & Woitek, Ulrich, 2009. "A pioneer of a new monetary policy? Sweden's price-level targeting of the 1930s revisited," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(02), pages 251-282, August.
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    6. Wandschneider, Kirsten, 2008. "The Stability of the Interwar Gold Exchange Standard: Did Politics Matter?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 68(01), pages 151-181, March.
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    8. Canova, Fabio & Dellas, Harris, 1993. "Trade interdependence and the international business cycle," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1-2), pages 23-47, February.
    9. Choudhri, Ehsan U & Kochin, Levis A, 1980. "The Exchange Rate and the International Transmission of Business Cycle Disturbances: Some Evidence from the Great Depression," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 12(4), pages 565-574, November.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E42 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Monetary Sytsems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System
    • F42 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - International Policy Coordination and Transmission
    • N1 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations
    • N12 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • N14 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: 1913-

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