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Supply-Side Policies in the Depression: Evidence from France


  • Jérémie Cohen-Setton
  • Joshua K. Hausman
  • Johannes F. Wieland


The effects of supply-side policies in depressed economies are controversial. We shed light on this debate using evidence from France in the 1930s. In 1936, France departed from the gold standard and implemented mandatory wage increases and hours restrictions. Deflation ended but output stagnated. We present time-series and cross-sectional evidence that these supply-side policies, in particular the 40-hour law, contributed to French stagflation. These results are inconsistent both with the standard one-sector new Keynesian model and with a medium scale, multi-sector model calibrated to match our cross-sectional estimates. We conclude that the new Keynesian model is a poor guide to the effects of supply-side shocks in depressed economies.

Suggested Citation

  • Jérémie Cohen-Setton & Joshua K. Hausman & Johannes F. Wieland, 2016. "Supply-Side Policies in the Depression: Evidence from France," NBER Working Papers 22140, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22140
    Note: DAE EFG ME

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Le Bris, David & Hautcœur, Pierre-Cyrille, 2010. "A challenge to triumphant optimists? A blue chips index for the Paris stock exchange, 1854–2007," Financial History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 17(02), pages 141-183, October.
    2. Joshua K. Hausman & Johannes F. Wieland, 2014. "Abenomics: Preliminary Analysis and Outlook," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 45(1 (Spring), pages 1-76.
    3. Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Johannes Wieland, 2012. "The Optimal Inflation Rate in New Keynesian Models: Should Central Banks Raise Their Inflation Targets in Light of the Zero Lower Bound?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(4), pages 1371-1406.
    4. Joshua K. Hausman, 2016. "Fiscal Policy and Economic Recovery: The Case of the 1936 Veterans' Bonus," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(4), pages 1100-1143, April.
    5. Boneva, Lena Mareen & Braun, R. Anton & Waki, Yuichiro, 2016. "Some unpleasant properties of loglinearized solutions when the nominal rate is zero," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 216-232.
    6. 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, January.
    7. Eichengreen, Barry, 1996. "Golden Fetters: The Gold Standard and the Great Depression, 1919-1939," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195101133, June.
    8. de Bromhead, Alan & Eichengreen, Barry & O'Rourke, Kevin H., 2013. "Political Extremism in the 1920s and 1930s: Do German Lessons Generalize?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 73(02), pages 371-406, June.
    9. Timothy Cogley & Argia M. Sbordone, 2008. "Trend Inflation, Indexation, and Inflation Persistence in the New Keynesian Phillips Curve," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 2101-2126, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Elif C Arbatli & Dennis P Botman & Kevin Clinton & Pietro Cova & Vitor Gaspar & Zoltan Jakab & Douglas Laxton & Constant A Lonkeng Ngouana & Joannes Mongardini & Hou Wang, 2016. "Reflating Japan; Time to Get Unconventional?," IMF Working Papers 16/157, International Monetary Fund.
    2. Julio Garín & Robert Lester & Eric Sims, 2016. "Are Supply Shocks Contractionary at the ZLB? Evidence from Utilization-Adjusted TFP Data," NBER Working Papers 22311, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Joshua K. Hausman & Johannes F. Wieland, 2015. "Overcoming the Lost Decades? Abenomics after Three Years," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 46(2 (Fall)), pages 385-431.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E31 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E65 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Studies of Particular Policy Episodes
    • N14 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: 1913-

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