IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Did sunspot cause the Great Depression?

  • Harrison, Sharon G.
  • Weder, Mark

We apply a dynamic general equilibrium model to the period of the Great Depression. In particular, we examine a modification of the real business cycle model in which the possibility of indeterminacy of equilibria arises. In other words, agents' self-fulfilling expectations can serve as a primary impulse behind fluctuations. We find that the model, driven only by these measured sunspot shocks, can explain well the entire Depression era. That is, the decline from 1929-1932, the subsequent slow recovery, and the recession that occurred in 1937-1938.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes in its series SFB 373 Discussion Papers with number 2002,35.

in new window

Date of creation: 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:zbw:sfb373:200235
Contact details of provider: Postal: Spandauer Str. 1,10178 Berlin
Phone: +49-30-2093-5708
Fax: +49-30-2093-5617
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Russell Cooper & Joao Ejarque, 1995. "Financial Intermediation and The Great Depression: A Multiple Equilibrium Interpretation," NBER Working Papers 5130, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles L. Evans, 1997. "Monetary policy shocks: what have we learned and to what end?," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues WP-97-18, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  3. Ben S. Bernanke, 1990. "On the predictive power of interest rates and interest rate spreads," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Nov, pages 51-68.
  4. Michael D. Bordo & Christopher J. Erceg & Charles L. Evans, 1997. "Money, sticky wages, and the Great Depression," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues WP-97-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  5. Basu, Susanto & Fernald, John G, 1997. "Returns to Scale in U.S. Production: Estimates and Implications," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 249-83, April.
  6. Dominguez, Kathryn M & Fair, Ray C & Shapiro, Matthew D, 1988. "Forecasting the Depression: Harvard versus Yale," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 595-612, September.
  7. Lee E. Ohanian, 2001. "Why did productivity fall so much during the Great Depression?," Staff Report 285, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  8. 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, July.
  9. Bresnahan, Timothy F. & Raff, Daniel M. G., 1991. "Intra-Industry Heterogeneity and the Great Depression: The American Motor Vehicles Industry, 1929–1935," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(02), pages 317-331, June.
  10. Salyer, Kevin D. & Sheffrin, Steven M., 1998. "Spotting sunspots: Some evidence in support of models with self-fulfilling prophecies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 511-523, October.
  11. Christina D. Romer, 1988. "The Great Crash and the Onset of the Great Depression," NBER Working Papers 2639, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Barry Eichengreen, 1992. "Golden Fetters: The Gold Standard and the Great Depression, 1919-1939," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number eich92-1, July.
  13. Roger E.A. Farmer & Jang Ting Guo, 1992. "Real Business Cycles and the Animal Spirits Hypothesis," UCLA Economics Working Papers 680, UCLA Department of Economics.
  14. Ben S. Bernanke & Martin L. Parkinson, 1990. "Procyclical Labor Productivity and Competing Theories of the Business Cycle: Some Evidence from Interwar U.S. Manufacturing Industries," NBER Working Papers 3503, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Wen, Yi, 1998. "Capacity Utilization under Increasing Returns to Scale," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 7-36, July.
  16. Chauvet, Marcelle & Guo, Jang-Ting, 2003. "Sunspots, Animal Spirits, And Economic Fluctuations," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(01), pages 140-169, February.
  17. Benhabib, Jess & Farmer, Roger E.A., 1999. "Indeterminacy and sunspots in macroeconomics," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 6, pages 387-448 Elsevier.
  18. Christina D. Romer, 1993. "The Nation in Depression," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 19-39, Spring.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zbw:sfb373:200235. 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: (ZBW - German National Library of Economics)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.