IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/6692.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Causes of American Business Cycles: An Essay in Economic Historiography

Author

Listed:
  • Peter Temin

Abstract

This paper surveys the causes of American business cycles for the century 1890 - 1990. Causes are taken to be exogenous shocks to a model with largely endogenous policy makers. Causes are classified as either real or monetary and domestic or foreign. All four causes were found to have led to cycles in the past century. This diversity was found in all time periods and for all size cycles. There were more domestic than foreign causes, confirming the relative independence of the American economy from external conditions. There were more real than monetary causes, conflicting with the popular view that monetary shocks are the source of most cycles.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Temin, 1998. "The Causes of American Business Cycles: An Essay in Economic Historiography," NBER Working Papers 6692, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6692
    Note: DAE ME EFG
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w6692.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    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. J. Bradford DeLong & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "The Changing Cyclical Variability of Economic Activity in the United States," NBER Chapters, in: The American Business Cycle: Continuity and Change, pages 679-734, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Robert J. Gordon & Arthur M. Okun & Herbert Stein, 1980. "Postwar Macroeconomics: The Evolution of Events and Ideas," NBER Chapters, in: The American Economy in Transition, pages 101-182, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Field, Alexander James, 1992. "Uncontrolled Land Development and the Duration of the Depression in the United States," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(4), pages 785-805, December.
    5. Christiano, Lawrence J. & Eichenbaum, Martin & Evans, Charles L., 1999. "Monetary policy shocks: What have we learned and to what end?," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 65-148, Elsevier.
    6. Rappoport, Peter & White, Eugene N., 1993. "Was There a Bubble in the 1929 Stock Market?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 53(3), pages 549-574, September.
    7. Hansen, Gary D & Prescott, Edward C, 1993. "Did Technology Shocks Cause the 1990-1991 Recession?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 280-286, May.
    8. Blanchard, Olivier Jean, 1993. "Consumption and the Recession of 1990-1991," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 270-274, May.
    9. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 1989. "Does Monetary Policy Matter? A New Test in the Spirit of Friedman and Schwartz," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1989, Volume 4, pages 121-184, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Grossman, Richard S., 1994. "The Shoe That Didn't Drop: Explaining Banking Stability During the Great Depression," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(3), pages 654-682, September.
    11. Martha L. Olney, 1999. "Avoiding Default: The Role of Credit in the Consumption Collapse of 1930," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 319-335.
    12. J. Bradford DeLong, 1998. "Fiscal Policy in the Shadow of the Great Depression," NBER Chapters, in: The Defining Moment: The Great Depression and the American Economy in the Twentieth Century, pages 67-86, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Victor Zarnowitz, 1992. "Business Cycles: Theory, History, Indicators, and Forecasting," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number zarn92-1, October.
    14. Barry Eichengreen & Peter Temin, 1997. "The Gold Standard and the Great Depression," NBER Working Papers 6060, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Hall, Robert E, 1993. "Macro Theory and the Recession of 1990-1991," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 275-279, May.
    16. 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, October.
    17. 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.
    18. Zarnowitz, Victor, 1992. "Business Cycles," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, number 9780226978901.
    19. Mayer, Thomas, 1978. "Consumption in the Great Depression," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(1), pages 139-145, February.
    20. Robert E. Hall, 1987. "Consumption," NBER Working Papers 2265, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. Robert E. Hall, 1986. "The Role of Consumption in Economic Fluctuations," NBER Chapters, in: The American Business Cycle: Continuity and Change, pages 237-266, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    22. Romer, Christina D., 1992. "What Ended the Great Depression?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(4), pages 757-784, December.
    23. De Long, J. Bradford & Shleifer, Andrei, 1991. "The stock market bubble of 1929: evidence from clsoed-end mutual funds," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(3), pages 675-700, September.
    24. Eichengreen, Barry, 1996. "Golden Fetters: The Gold Standard and the Great Depression, 1919-1939," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195101133.
    25. Mishkin, Frederic S., 1978. "The Household Balance Sheet and the Great Depression," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 38(4), pages 918-937, December.
    26. Feinstein, Charles H. & Temin, Peter & Toniolo, Gianni, 1997. "The European Economy Between the Wars," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198774815.
    27. Field, Alexander J, 1984. "Asset Exchanges and the Transactions Demand for Money, 1919-29," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(1), pages 43-59, March.
    28. Wheelock,David C., 2004. "The Strategy and Consistency of Federal Reserve Monetary Policy, 1924–1933," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521531399, December.
    29. repec:hrv:faseco:30703980 is not listed on IDEAS
    30. Hamilton, James D., 1987. "Monetary factors in the great depression," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 145-169, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Lahiri, Kajal & Yao, Vincent Wenxiong, 2006. "Economic indicators for the US transportation sector," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 40(10), pages 872-887, December.
    2. Engemann, Kristie M. & Kliesen, Kevin L. & Owyang, Michael T., 2011. "Do Oil Shocks Drive Business Cycles? Some U.S. And International Evidence," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(S3), pages 498-517, November.
    3. Charles, Amélie & Darné, Olivier & Diebolt, Claude & Ferrara, Laurent, 2015. "A new monthly chronology of the US industrial cycles in the prewar economy," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 17(C), pages 3-9.
    4. Heinemeyer, Hans Christian, 2007. "The course of the great depression: a consistent business cycle dating approach," Discussion Papers 2007/14, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
    5. Atack, Jeremy & Rousseau, Peter L., 1999. "Business Activity and the Boston Stock Market, 1835-1869," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 144-179, April.
    6. Marco Gallegati & Mauro Gallegati, 2005. "Wavelet variance and correlation analyses of output in G7 countries," Macroeconomics 0512017, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Schwark, Florentine, 2014. "Energy price shocks and medium-term business cycles," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 112-121.
    8. Daniel Kuehn, 2011. "A critique of Powell, Woods, and Murphy on the 1920–1921 depression," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 24(3), pages 273-291, September.
    9. Satyajit Chatterjee, 2000. "From cycles to shocks: progress in business-cycle theory," Business Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, issue Mar, pages 27-37.
    10. Ghent, Andra C. & Owyang, Michael T., 2010. "Is housing the business cycle? Evidence from US cities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 336-351, May.
    11. Don Harding & Adrian Pagan, 1999. "Knowing the Cycle," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp1999n12, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    12. Jiang, Dou & Weder, Mark, 2021. "American business cycles 1889–1913: An accounting approach," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 67(C).
    13. Gatti, Domenico Delli & Gallegati, Marco & Gallegati, Mauro, 2005. "On the nature and causes of business fluctuations in Italy, 1861-2000," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 81-100, January.
    14. Jannati, Sima & Korniotis, George & Kumar, Alok, 2020. "Big fish in a small pond: Locally dominant firms and the business cycle," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 180(C), pages 219-240.
    15. Patrick Newman, 2016. "The depression of 1920–1921: a credit induced boom and a market based recovery?," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 29(4), pages 387-414, December.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Nicholas Crafts & Peter Fearon, 2010. "Lessons from the 1930s Great Depression," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(3), pages 285-317, Autumn.
    2. Siklos, Pierre L., 2008. "The Fed's reaction to the stock market during the great depression: Fact or artefact?," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 164-184, April.
    3. Cooper, Russell & Ejarque, Joao, 1995. "Financial intermediation and the Great Depression: a multiple equilibrium interpretation," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 285-323, December.
    4. Mervyn Allister King, 1993. "Debt Deflation: Theory and Evidence," FMG Discussion Papers dp175, Financial Markets Group.
    5. Bordo, Michael D. & Haubrich, Joseph G., 2010. "Credit crises, money and contractions: An historical view," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 1-18, January.
    6. Gabriel P. Mathy, 2020. "How much did uncertainty shocks matter in the Great Depression?," Cliometrica, Springer;Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie), vol. 14(2), pages 283-323, May.
    7. Jaremski, Matthew & Mathy, Gabriel, 2018. "How was the quantitative easing program of the 1930s Unwound?," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 27-49.
    8. Siodla, James, 2020. "Debt and taxes: Fiscal strain and US city budgets during the Great Depression," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 76(C).
    9. Karau, Sören, 2020. "Buried in the vaults of central banks: Monetary gold hoarding and the slide into the Great Depression," Discussion Papers 63/2020, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    10. Breitenlechner, Max & Mathy, Gabriel P. & Scharler, Johann, 2021. "Decomposing the U.S. Great Depression: How important were loan supply shocks?," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 79(C).
    11. Selgin, George & Lastrapes, William D. & White, Lawrence H., 2012. "Has the Fed been a failure?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 569-596.
    12. Singleton,John, 2010. "Central Banking in the Twentieth Century," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521899093, December.
    13. Alexander J. Field, 2013. "The Interwar Housing Cycle in the Light of 2001-2011: A Comparative Historical Approach," NBER Working Papers 18796, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Fratianni, Michele & Giri, Federico, 2017. "The tale of two great crises," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 5-31.
    15. Margaret M. Jacobson & Eric M. Leeper & Bruce Preston, 2019. "Recovery of 1933," NBER Working Papers 25629, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Chin Alycia & Warusawitharana Missaka, 2010. "Financial Market Shocks during the Great Depression," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-27, September.
    17. Richardson, Gary & Van Horn, Patrick, 2018. "In the eye of a Storm: Manhattan's money center banks during the international financial crisis of 1931," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 71-94.
    18. Charles W. Calomiris, 1993. "Financial Factors in the Great Depression," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 61-85, Spring.
    19. Mitchener, Kris James & Wandschneider, Kirsten, 2015. "Capital controls and recovery from the financial crisis of the 1930s," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(2), pages 188-201.
    20. Binder, Carola Conces, 2016. "Estimation of historical inflation expectations," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 1-31.

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6692. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.