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Monetary Interpretations of the Great Depression

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Frank Steindl asks why, despite much monetary work in the intervening years, it was not until Friedman and Schwartz put forward their monetary interpretation of the depth of the Great Depression that the monetary approach was rescued from disrepute and established as one of the most widely held explanations for the Depression.

To answer this question, the author explores the work of economists writing before Friedman and Schwartz. Among those investigated are Angell, Currie, ...

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Overview


Frank Steindl asks why, despite much monetary work in the intervening years, it was not until Friedman and Schwartz put forward their monetary interpretation of the depth of the Great Depression that the monetary approach was rescued from disrepute and established as one of the most widely held explanations for the Depression.

To answer this question, the author explores the work of economists writing before Friedman and Schwartz. Among those investigated are Angell, Currie, Fisher, Hawtrey, Simons, Snyder, and Viner--economists of the first rank. Other approaches examined include those of Harry G. Brown, C. O. Hardy, Lionel Edie, Willford King, Arthur Marget, Lloyd Mints, Lionel Robbins, James Harvey Rogers, and H. Parker Willis.

These analyses are examined in relation to the central elements of Friedman and Schwartz's framework, an analytical core that includes a money supply mechanism and an interpretation of the Federal Reserve's role in bringing about a dramatic decline in the money supply. A central finding is that their monetary interpretation stands alone and was not anticipated. The notable exception is Warburton, whose work was largely ignored because of its lack of clarity. Professor Steindl goes on to explore in terms of the nature of scientific inquiry why the other interpretations did not anticipate Friedman and Schwartz.

This book will be of interest to monetary economists, especially historians of monetary thought, students of the Great Depression, and philosophers of science.

Frank G. Steindl is Regents Professor of Economics, Oklahoma State University.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780472106004
  • Publisher: University of Michigan Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/1996
  • Pages: 216

Table of Contents

1 An Overview 1
2 Monetary Theories of Depressions 19
3 The Analytical Core of Friedman and Schwartz 45
4 The Monetary Economics of Lauchlin Currie 61
5 The View from Chicago 79
6 Yale and the Monetary Interpretation 97
7 Misguided Monetary Messages 117
8 Sedulous Monetary Studies 135
9 Warburton on the Great Depression 159
10 A Summing Up 171
References 181
Index 193
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