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The Gold Standard and the Great Depression

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  • Barry Eichengreen
  • Peter Temin

Abstract

This paper, written primarily for historians, attempts to explain why political leaders and central bankers continued to adhere to the gold standard as the Great Depression intensified. We do not focus on the effects of the gold standard on the Depression, which we and others have documented elsewhere, but on the reasons why policy makers chose the policies they did. We argue that the mentality of the gold standard was pervasive and compelling to the leaders of the interwar economy. It was expressed and reinforced by the discourse among these leaders. It was opposed and finally defeated by mass politics, but only after the interaction of national policies had drawn the world into the Great Depression.

Suggested Citation

  • Barry Eichengreen & Peter Temin, 1997. "The Gold Standard and the Great Depression," NBER Working Papers 6060, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6060
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bernanke, Ben S, 1983. "Nonmonetary Effects of the Financial Crisis in Propagation of the Great Depression," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(3), pages 257-276, June.
    2. Bordo, Michael D. & Rockoff, Hugh, 1996. "The Gold Standard as a “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval”," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 56(02), pages 389-428, June.
    3. Eichengreen, Barry, 1996. "Golden Fetters: The Gold Standard and the Great Depression, 1919-1939," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195101133.
    4. Bernanke, Ben S, 1995. "The Macroeconomics of the Great Depression: A Comparative Approach," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(1), pages 1-28, February.
    5. Peter Temin, 1991. "Lessons from the Great Depression," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262700441, May.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Les contrôles de capitaux stimulent-ils les reprises ? Ce que nous enseigne la Grande Dépression
      by ? in D'un champ l'autre on 2014-06-17 04:21:00

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. De Vroey Michel R & Pensieroso Luca, 2006. "Real Business Cycle Theory and the Great Depression: The Abandonment of the Abstentionist Viewpoint," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 6(1), pages 1-26, November.
    2. Peter Temin, 1998. "Causes of American business cycles: an essay in economic historiography," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 42(Jun), pages 37-64.
    3. Michael D. Bordo & Marc Flandreau, 2003. "Core, Periphery, Exchange Rate Regimes, and Globalization," NBER Chapters,in: Globalization in Historical Perspective, pages 417-472 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Hansjoerg Klausinger, 2005. "The Austrian School of Economics and the Gold Standard Mentality in Austrian Economic Policy in the 1930s," Method and Hist of Econ Thought 0501001, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Paolera, Gerardo Della & Taylor, Alan M., 1999. "Economic Recovery from the Argentine Great Depression: Institutions, Expectations, and the Change of Macroeconomic Regime," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 59(03), pages 567-599, September.
    6. Michael D. Bordo & Pierre-Cyrille Hautcoeur, 2003. "Why didn't France follow the British Stabilization after World War One ?," DELTA Working Papers 2003-15, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
    7. Luca Pensieroso, 2007. "Real Business Cycle Models Of The Great Depression: A Critical Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(1), pages 110-142, February.
    8. Jonathan Payne & Lawrence Uren, 2014. "Economic Policy and the Great Depression in a Small Open Economy," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 46(2-3), pages 347-370, March.
    9. Masson, Paul R. & Shukayev, Malik D., 2011. "Are bygones not bygones? Modeling price-level targeting with an escape clause and lessons from the gold standard," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 162-175, June.
    10. Koichi Hamada & Asahi Noguchi, 2005. "The Role of Preconceived Ideas in Macroeconomic Policy: Japan's Experiences in the Two Deflationary Periods," Working Papers 908, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
    11. Weder, Mark, 2001. "The Great Demand Depression," CEPR Discussion Papers 3067, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. Grossman, Richard S. & Imai, Masami, 2009. "Japan's return to gold: Turning points in the value of the yen during the 1920s," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 314-323, July.
    13. James L. Butkiewicz & Kim Lane Leong Long, 2003. "Predicting Interwar Business Cycles with the Interest Rate Yield Spread," Working Papers 03-07, University of Delaware, Department of Economics.
    14. David Laidler, 2003. "Meltzer's History of the Federal Reserve," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(4), pages 1256-1271, December.
    15. Michael D. Bordo & Ronald MacDonald, 1997. "Violations of the `Rules of the Game' and the Credibility of the Classical Gold Standard, 1880-1914," NBER Working Papers 6115, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Bordo, Michael D. & Choudhri, Ehsan U. & Schwartz, Anna J., 2002. "Was Expansionary Monetary Policy Feasible during the Great Contraction? An Examination of the Gold Standard Constraint," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 1-28, January.
    17. Gerald Epstein, 2005. "Central Banks as Agents of Economic Development," Working Papers wp104, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
    18. Michael D. Bordo & Lars Jonung, 1999. "The Future of EMU: What Does the History of Monetary Unions Tell Us?," NBER Working Papers 7365, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Michael D. Bordo & Barry Eichengreen, 1998. "The Rise and Fall of a Barbarous Relic: The Role of Gold in the International Monetary SYstem," NBER Working Papers 6436, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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