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Academics as Economic Advisers: Gold, the ‘Brains Trust,’ and FDR

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  • Sebastian Edwards

Abstract

In this paper I revisit the period leading to the abandonment of the gold standard by the U.S. in 1933. I analyze what the important players – and in particular FDR and the members of the advisory group known as the “Brains Trust” – thought about the gold standard. My conclusion is that during the primary and presidential campaigns, neither Roosevelt nor his inner circle had a strong view on gold or the dollar. They did believe in the need to experiment with different policies in order to get the country out of the slump. Tinkering with the value of the currency was a possible area for experimentation; but it was an option with a relatively low priority, lower than implementing a public works program, and passing a bill that included crops allotment. Until inauguration day FDR’s views on the gold standard were ambivalent and noncommittal; he was neither a diehard fan of the system, nor was he a severe critic.

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  • Sebastian Edwards, 2015. "Academics as Economic Advisers: Gold, the ‘Brains Trust,’ and FDR," NBER Working Papers 21380, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:21380
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    6. Romer, Christina D., 1992. "What Ended the Great Depression?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(4), pages 757-784, December.
    7. Eichengreen, Barry, 1996. "Golden Fetters: The Gold Standard and the Great Depression, 1919-1939," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195101133.
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    Cited by:

    1. Joshua K. Hausman & Paul W. Rhode & Johannes F. Wieland, 2019. "Recovery from the Great Depression: The Farm Channel in Spring 1933," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(2), pages 427-472, February.
    2. Fudickar, Roman & Hottenrott, Hanna & Lawson, Cornelia, 2016. "What’s the price of consulting? Effects of public and private sector consulting on academic research," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201603, University of Turin.
    3. Roman Fudickar & Hanna Hottenrott & Cornelia Lawson, 2018. "What’s the price of academic consulting? Effects of public and private sector consulting on academic research," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 27(4), pages 699-722.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • B2 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925
    • B22 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Macroeconomics
    • B26 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Financial Economics
    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • F31 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Exchange
    • N12 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • N22 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-

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