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How was the Quantitative Easing Program of the 1930s Unwound?

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  • Matthew Jaremski
  • Gabriel Mathy

Abstract

Outside of the recent past, excess reserves have only concerned policymakers in one other period: the Great Depression. The data show that excess reserves in the 1930s were never actively unwound through a reduction in the monetary base. Nominal economic growth swelled required reserves while an exogenous reduction in monetary gold inflows due to war embargoes in Europe allowed excess reserves to naturally decline towards zero. Excess reserves fell rapidly in early 1941 and would have unwound fully even without the entry of the United States into World War II. As such, policy tightening was at no point necessary and could have contributed to the 1937-1938 Recession.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthew Jaremski & Gabriel Mathy, 2017. "How was the Quantitative Easing Program of the 1930s Unwound?," NBER Working Papers 23788, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23788
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    Cited by:

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    2. Andrew Bossie, 2020. "Monetary and fiscal interactions in the USA during the 1940s," Cliometrica, Springer;Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie), vol. 14(1), pages 61-103, January.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • N12 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-

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