The Missing Transmission Mechanism in the Monetary Explanation of the Great Depression
This paper examines an important gap in the monetary explanation of the Great Depression: the lack of a well-articulated and documented transmission mechanism of monetary shocks to the real economy. It begins by reviewing the challenge to Friedman and Schwartz's monetary explanation provided by the decline in nominal interest rates in the early 1930s. We show that the monetary explanation requires not just that there were expectations of deflation, but that those expectations were the result of monetary contraction. Using a detailed analysis of Business Week magazine, we find evidence that monetary contraction and Federal Reserve policy contributed to expectations of deflation during the central years of the downturn. This suggests that monetary shocks may have depressed spending and output in part by raising real interest rates.
|Date of creation:||Jan 2013|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 2013. "The Missing Transmission Mechanism in the Monetary Explanation of the Great Depression," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 66-72, May.|
|Note:||DAE EFG ME|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
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- Christina D. Romer, 1990. "The Great Crash and the Onset of the Great Depression," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(3), pages 597-624.
- Martha L. Olney, 1999. "Avoiding Default: The Role of Credit in the Consumption Collapse of 1930," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 319-335.
- 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, October.
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