Creator: Beaudry, Paul. and Portier, Franck. Series: Great depressions of the twentieth century Abstract:
In this paper we make the following three claims. (1), in contradiction with the conventional view according to which the French depression was very different to that observed in the US, we argue that there are more similarities than differences between the French and U.S. experiences and therefore a common explanation should be sought. (2), poor growth in technological opportunities appear neither necessary nor sufficient to account for the French depression. (3), changes in institutional and market regulation appear necessary to account for the overall changes observed over the period. Moreover, we show that the size of these institutional changes may by themselves be enough to quantatively explain the French depression. However, at this time, we have no theory to explain the size or the timing of these changes.
Keyword: France, Market regulation, Stagnation, and Depression Subject (JEL): N14 - Macroeconomics and monetary economics ; Growth and fluctuations - Europe : 1913- and E32 - Prices, business fluctuations, and cycles - Business fluctuations ; Cycles
Creator: Mulligan, Casey B. Series: Great depressions of the twentieth century Abstract:
I prove some theorems for competitive equilibria in the presence of distortionary taxes and other restraints of trade, and use those theorems to motivate an algorithm for (exactly) computing and empirically evaluating competitive equilibria in dynamic economies. Although its economics is relatively sophisticated, the algorithm is so computationally economical that it can be implemented with a few lines in a spreadsheet. Although a competitive equilibrium models interactions between all sectors, all consumer types, and all time periods, I show how my algorithm permits separate empirical evaluation of these pieces of the model and hence is practical even when very little data is available. For similar reasons, these evaluations are not particularly sensitive to how data is partitioned into "trends" and "cycles." I then compute a real business cycle model with distortionary taxes that fits aggregate U.S. time series for the period 1929-50 and conclude that, if it is to explain aggregate behavior during the period, government policy must have heavily taxed labor income during the Great Depression and lightly taxed it during the war. In other words, the challenge for the competitive equilibrium approach is not so much why output might change over time, but why the marginal product of labor and the marginal value of leisure diverged so much and why that wedge persisted so long. In this sense, explaining aggregate behavior during the period has been reduced to a public finance question - were actual government policies distorting behavior in the same direction and magnitude as government policies in the model?
Keyword: Depressions, Taxes, World War 2, and Competitive equilibrium models Subject (JEL): H30 - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents: General, E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, and C68 - Computable General Equilibrium Models
Creator: Perri, Fabrizio and Quadrini, Vincenzo Series: Great depressions of the twentieth century Abstract:
We analyze the Italian economy in the interwar years. In Italy, as in many other countries, the years immmediately after 1929 were characterized by a major slowdown in economic activity as non farm output declined almost 12. We argue that the slowdown cannot be explained solely by productivity shocks and that other factors must have contributed to the depth and duration of the the 1929 crisis. We present a model in which trade restrictions together with wage rigidities produce a slowdown in economic activity that is consistent with the one observed in the data. The model is also consistent with evidence from sectorial disaggregated data. Our model predicts that trade restrictions can account for about 3/4 of the observed slowdown while wage rigidity (monetary shocks) can account for the remaining fourth.
Keyword: Wage rigidity, Italy, Depressions, and Trade restrictions Subject (JEL): N14 - Economic History: Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations: Europe: 1913- and E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
Creator: Chari, V. V., Kehoe, Patrick J., and McGrattan, Ellen R. Series: Working Papers (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis) Number: 619
Creator: Chari, V. V., Kehoe, Patrick J., and McGrattan, Ellen R. Series: Joint committee on business and financial analysis Abstract:
This paper proposes a simple method for guiding researchers in developing quantitative models of economic fluctuations. We show that a large class of models, including models with various frictions, are equivalent to a prototype growth model with time varying wedges that, at least on face value, look like time-varying productivity, labor taxes, and capital income taxes. We label the time varying wedges as efficiency wedges, labor wedges, and investment wedges. We use data to measure these wedges and then feed them back into the prototype growth model. We then assess the fraction of fluctuations accounted for by these wedges during the great depressions of the 1930s in the United States, Germany, and Canada. We find that the efficiency and labor wedges in combination account for essentially all of the declines and subsequent recoveries. Investment wedge plays at best a minor role.
Keyword: Business cycle, Cycle, Economic fluctuations, Fluctuation, and Growth Subject (JEL): O41 - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models, O47 - Economic growth and aggregate productivity - Measurement of economic growth ; Aggregate productivity ; Cross-country output convergence, and E32 - Prices, business fluctuations, and cycles - Business fluctuations ; Cycles
Creator: Kehoe, Timothy J. and Prescott, Edward C. Series: Staff Report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Dept.) Number: 418 Abstract:
Three of the arguments made by Temin (2008) in his review of Great Depressions of the Twentieth Century are demonstrably wrong: that the treatment of the data in the volume is cursory; that the definition of great depressions is too general and, in particular, groups slow growth experiences in Latin America in the 1980s with far more severe great depressions in Europe in the 1930s; and that the book is an advertisement for the real business cycle methodology. Without these three arguments — which are the results of obvious conceptual and arithmetical errors, including copying the wrong column of data from a source — his review says little more than that he does not think it appropriate to apply our dynamic general equilibrium methodology to the study of great depressions, and he does not like the conclusion that we draw: that a successful model of a great depression needs to be able to account for the effects of government policy on productivity.
In 2008, Peter Temin wrote a review of the book that appeared in the Journal of Economic Literature. This staff report and accompanying data file are in response to the review.
Citation for review: Temin, Peter. 2008. "Real Business Cycle Views of the Great Depression and Recent Events: A Review of Timothy J. Kehoe and Edward C. Prescott's Great Depressions of the Twentieth Century." Journal of Economic Literature, 46 (3): 669-84. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1257/jel.46.3.669