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A Tale of Two Countries and Two Booms, Canada and the United States in the 1920s and the 2000s: The Roles of Monetary and Financial Stability Policies

  • Ehsan U. Choudhri

    (Carleton University, Canada)

  • Lawrence L. Schembri

    (Bank of Canada, Canada)

The paper examines the experience of Canada and the United States in the run-up to the two biggest financial crises in global history, in the 1920s and 2000s, and the roles of their monetary and financial stability policies. Comparing the Canadian and the U.S. experiences over the two periods is instructive because Canadian monetary policy was somewhat more conservative than U.S. monetary policy and there were important institutional differences in the two periods: Canada did not have a central bank in the 1920’s and followed different financial stability policies in the 2000’s. We present evidence that suggests two conclusions. Firstly, a more moderate Canadian monetary policy in the two booms affected Canada’s relative macroeconomic performance during the booms; in particular, the extent of the economic expansion was less. Secondly, this difference, however, by itself, does not explain why Canada fared better in the recent crisis, but not in the Great Depression. Indeed, the comparative evidence suggests that it was the difference in the effectiveness of financial stability policies, primarily financial regulation supervision with respect to banks and housing finance, that explains the better Canadian performance during the recent crisis. In contrast, in the 1920s, both countries lacked the financial policies to control excess credit growth and both suffered as a consequence. In addition, both countries made policy mistakes in aftermath of the stock market crash and credit collapses; in particular, Canada pursued inflexible interest and exchange rate policies that aggravated the economic downturn.

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Paper provided by The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis in its series Working Paper Series with number 44_13.

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Date of creation: Aug 2013
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Handle: RePEc:rim:rimwps:44_13
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  1. Barry Eichengreen & Kris Mitchener, 2003. "The Great Depression as a credit boom gone wrong," BIS Working Papers 137, Bank for International Settlements.
  2. Pedro Amaral & James Macgee, 2002. "Data Appendix to The Great Depression in Canada and the United States: A Neoclassical Perspective," Technical Appendices amaral02, Review of Economic Dynamics.
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  4. Bertaut, Carol & DeMarco, Laurie Pounder & Kamin, Steven & Tryon, Ralph, 2012. "ABS inflows to the United States and the global financial crisis," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 219-234.
  5. repec:ucp:bkecon:9780226519999 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Matthew Canzoneri & Robert Cumby & Behzad Diba & David Lãpez-Salido, 2008. "Monetary Aggregates and Liquidity in a Neo-Wicksellian Framework," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 40(8), pages 1667-1698, December.
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  13. John Kiff, 2009. "Canadian Residential Mortgage Markets; Boring But Effective?," IMF Working Papers 09/130, International Monetary Fund.
  14. Rodney Ramcharan & Raghuram G. Rajan, 2012. "The anatomy of a credit crisis: the boom and bust in farm land prices in the United States in the 1920s," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2012-62, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  15. John B. Taylor, 2012. "Monetary Policy Rules Work and Discretion Doesn't: A Tale of Two Eras," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 44(6), pages 1017-1032, 09.
  16. Ben S. Bernanke, 1994. "The Macroeconomics of the Great Depression: A Comparative Approach," NBER Working Papers 4814, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. David Laidler, 2003. "The price level, relative prices and economic stability: aspects of the interwar debate," BIS Working Papers 136, Bank for International Settlements.
  18. Michael D. Bordo & Angela Redish, 1990. "Credible Commitment and Exchange Rate Stability: Canada's Interwar Experience," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 23(2), pages 357-80, May.
  19. Kryzanowski, Lawrence & Roberts, Gordon S, 1993. "Canadian Banking Solvency, 1922-1940," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 25(3), pages 361-76, August.
  20. Philip Lowe & Claudio Borio, 2002. "Asset prices, financial and monetary stability: exploring the nexus," BIS Working Papers 114, Bank for International Settlements.
  21. White, Eugene N, 1990. "The Stock Market Boom and Crash of 1929 Revisited," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 67-83, Spring.
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