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Finance, farms, and the Fed's early years

Author

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  • Bruce Carlin
  • William Mann

Abstract

We provide causal evidence that discount rate changes by the Federal Reserve affected economic output in the 1920s. Our identification strategy exploits county-level variation in access to the Fed's discount window, and we implement this strategy with hand-collected data on banking and agriculture in Illinois in the early 20th century. The mechanism for the Fed's effect on agriculture was a bank credit channel, operating independently of any deflationary effect on money supply. Our findings suggest that the Fed deliberately managed transitory shocks during 1920-1921, mitigating debt burdens with which farms would struggle in the years leading to the Great Depression.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruce Carlin & William Mann, 2017. "Finance, farms, and the Fed's early years," NBER Working Papers 23511, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23511
    Note: CF DAE EFG ME
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w23511.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Romer, Christina D., 1988. "World War I and the postwar depression A reinterpretation based on alternative estimates of GNP," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 91-115, July.
    2. Jith Jayaratne & Philip E. Strahan, 1996. "The Finance-Growth Nexus: Evidence from Bank Branch Deregulation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(3), pages 639-670.
    3. Haelim Anderson & Charles W. Calomiris & Matthew Jaremski & Gary Richardson, 2018. "Liquidity Risk, Bank Networks, and the Value of Joining the Federal Reserve System," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 50(1), pages 173-201, February.
    4. Daniel Kuehn, 2012. "A note on America's 1920--21 depression as an argument for austerity," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(1), pages 155-160.
    5. Gary B. Gorton & Andrew Metrick, 2013. "The Federal Reserve and Financial Regulation: The First Hundred Years," NBER Working Papers 19292, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    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, December.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Masami Imai & Tetsuji Okazaki & Michiru Sawada, 2019. "The Effects of Lender of Last Resort on Financial Intermediation during the Great Depression in Japan," Working Papers e129, Tokyo Center for Economic Research.
    2. Masami Imai & Tetsuji Okazaki & Michiru Sawada, 2019. "The Effects of Lender of Last Resort on Financial Intermediation during the Great Depression in Japan," Wesleyan Economics Working Papers 2019-002, Wesleyan University, Department of Economics.
    3. Masami Imai & Tetsuji Okazaki & Michiru Sawada, 2019. "The Effects of Lender of Last Resort on Financial Intermediation during the Great Depression in Japan," Working Papers e129, Tokyo Center for Economic Research.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • B26 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Financial Economics
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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