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A small open economy in the Great Depression: the case of Switzerland

Author

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  • Peter Rosenkranz
  • Tobias Straumann
  • Ulrich Woitek

Abstract

In historical accounts of the world economic crisis of the 1930s, Switzerland is known for its staunch defense of the gold standard and the rise of corporatist policies. Yet, so far, the literature has not discussed the implications of these two features. This paper tries to show how the combination of hard-currency policy and nominal rigidities introduced by corporatist policies proved to be fatal for growth. Estimating a New Keynesian small open economy model for the period 1926-1938, we show that the decision to participate in the Gold Bloc after 1933 at an overvalued currency can be identified as the main reason for the unusual long lasting recession and that price rigidities from 1931 to 1936 significantly slowed down the adjustment process.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Rosenkranz & Tobias Straumann & Ulrich Woitek, 2014. "A small open economy in the Great Depression: the case of Switzerland," ECON - Working Papers 164, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:zur:econwp:164
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    File URL: http://www.econ.uzh.ch/static/wp/econwp164.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Straumann,Tobias, 2014. "Fixed Ideas of Money," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107616370.
    2. Pagan,Adrian & Ullah,Aman, 1999. "Nonparametric Econometrics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521355643.
    3. Richard Clarida & Jordi Gali & Mark Gertler, 2001. "Optimal Monetary Policy in Open versus Closed Economies: An Integrated Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 248-252, May.
    4. Feinstein, Charles H. & Temin, Peter & Toniolo, Gianni, 2008. "The World Economy between the World Wars," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195307559.
    5. Chib, Siddhartha & Ramamurthy, Srikanth, 2010. "Tailored randomized block MCMC methods with application to DSGE models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 155(1), pages 19-38, March.
    6. Klein, Paul, 2000. "Using the generalized Schur form to solve a multivariate linear rational expectations model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 24(10), pages 1405-1423, September.
    7. Alexander Rathke & Tobias Straumann & Ulrich Woitek, 2011. "Overvalued: Swedish monetary policy in the 1930s," ECON - Working Papers 058, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
    8. Eichengreen, Barry, 1996. "Golden Fetters: The Gold Standard and the Great Depression, 1919-1939," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195101133.
    9. Richard Clarida & Jordi Gali & Mark Gertler, 2001. "Optimal Monetary Policy in Closed versus Open Economies: An Integrated Approach," NBER Working Papers 8604, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Campa, José Manuel, 1990. "Exchange Rates and Economic Recovery in the 1930s: An Extension to Lation America," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 50(03), pages 677-682, September.
    11. Michael Bordo & Thomas Helbling & Harold James, 2007. "Swiss Exchange Rate Policy in the 1930s. Was the Delay in Devaluation Too High a Price to Pay for Conservatism?," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 1-25, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Daniel Kaufmann, 2019. "Nominal stability over two centuries," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics, Springer;Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics, vol. 155(1), pages 1-23, December.
    2. Daniel Kaufmann, 2015. "Nominal stability and Swiss monetary regimes over two centuries," KOF Working papers 15-379, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Great Depression; Switzerland; New Keynesian Business Cycle Model;

    JEL classification:

    • E12 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Keynes; Keynesian; Post-Keynesian; Modern Monetary Theory
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • N14 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: 1913-

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