Few periods in history compare to the Great Depression. Stock market crashes, bread lines, bank runs, and wild currency speculation were worldwide phenomena--all occurring with war looming in the background. This period has provided economists with a marvelous laboratory for studying the links between economic policies and institutions and economic performance. Here, Ben Bernanke has gathered together his essays on why the Great Depression was so devastating. This broad view shows us that while the Great Depression was an unparalleled disaster, some economies pulled up faster than others, and some made an opportunity out of it. By comparing and contrasting the economic strategies and statistics of the world's nations as they struggled to survive economically, the fundamental lessons of macroeconomics stand out in bold relief against a background of immense human suffering. The essays in this volume present a uniquely coherent view of the economic causes and worldwide propagation of the depression.
Ben S. Bernanke is a member of the Board of Governors of the U.S. Federal Reserve System. He is on leave from Princeton University, where he is the Howard Harrison and Gabrielle Snyder Beck Professor of Economics and Public Affairs. He is author of many publications and coauthor of the recent Princeton University Press book, "Inflation Targeting: Lessons from the International Experience".
Preface vii PART ONE: OVERVIEW 3 1. The Macroeconomics of the Great Depression: A Comparative Approach 5 PART TWO: MONEY AND FINANCIAL MARKETS 39 2. Nonmonetary Effects of the Financial Crisis in the Propagation of the Great Depression 41 3. The Gold Standard, Deflation, and Financial Crisis in the Great Depression: An International Comparison - With Harold James 70 4. Deflation and Monetary Contraction in the Great Depressim An Analysis by Simple Ratios - With Ilian Mihov 108 PART THREE: LABOR MARKETS 161 5. The Cyclical Behavior of Industrial Labor Markets: A Comparison of the Prewar and Postwar Eras - With James L. Powell 163 6. Employment, Hours, and Earnings in the Depression: An Analysis of Eight Manufacturing Industries 206 7. Unemployment, Inflation, and Wages in the American Depression: Are There Lessons for Europe? - With Martin Parkinson 247 8. Procyclical Labor Productivity and Competing Theories of the Business Cycle: Some Evidence from Interwar U.S. Manufacturing Industries - With Martin Parkinson 255 9. Nominal Wage Stickiness and Aggregate Supply in the Great Depression - With Kevin Carey 276 Index 303