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Jel Classification:N12 

Working Paper
Did Doubling Reserve Requirements Cause the 1937-38 Recession? New Evidence on the Impact of Reserve Requirements on Bank Reserve Demand and Lending

In 1936-37, the Federal Reserve doubled member banks' reserve requirements. Friedman and Schwartz (1963) famously argued that the doubling increased reserve demand and forced the money supply to contract, which they argued caused the recession of 1937-38. Using a new database on individual banks, we show that higher reserve requirements did not generally increase banks' reserve demand or contract lending because reserve requirements were not binding for most banks. Aggregate effects on credit supply from reserve requirement increases were therefore economically small and statistically zero.
Working Papers , Paper 2022-011

Working Paper
Export-Led Decay: The Trade Channel in the Gold Standard Era

Flexible exchange rates can facilitate price adjustments that buffer macroeconomic shocks. We test this hypothesis using adjustments to the gold standard during the Great Depression. Using prices at the goods level, we estimate exchange rate pass-through. Using novel monthly data on city-level economic activity, combined with employment composition and sectoral export data, we show that American exporting cities were significantly affected by changes in bilateral exchange rates. With those results we calibrate a general equilibrium model to obtain aggregate effects from cross-sectional ...
Working Papers , Paper 21-11r

Working Paper
Navigating constraints: the evolution of Federal Reserve monetary policy, 1935-59

The 1950s are often pointed to as a decade in which the Federal Reserve operated a particularly successful monetary policy. The present paper examines the evolution of Federal Reserve monetary policy from the mid-1930s through the 1950s in an effort to understand better the apparent success of policy in the 1950s. Whereas others have debated whether the Fed had a sophisticated understanding of how to implement policy, our focus is on how the constraints on the Fed changed over time. Roosevelt Administration gold policies and New Deal legislation limited the Fed?s ability to conduct an ...
Working Papers , Paper 2014-13

Working Paper
Navigating constraints: the evolution of Federal Reserve monetary policy, 1935-59

The 1950s are often cited as a decade in which the Federal Reserve operated a particularly successful monetary policy. The present paper examines the evolution of Federal Reserve monetary policy from the mid-1930s through the 1950s in an effort to understand better the apparent success of policy in the 1950s. Whereas others have debated whether the Fed had a sophisticated understanding of how to implement policy, our focus is on how the constraints on the Fed changed over time. Roosevelt Administration gold policies and New Deal legislation limited the Fed?s ability to conduct an independent ...
Globalization Institute Working Papers , Paper 205

Working Paper
Drifts, Volatilities, and Impulse Responses Over the Last Century

How much have the dynamics of U.S. time series and in particular the transmission of innovations to monetary policy instruments changed over the last century? The answers to these questions that this paper gives are "a lot" and "probably less than you think," respectively. We use vector autoregressions with time-varying parameters and stochastic volatility to tackle these questions. In our analysis we use variables that both influenced monetary policy and in turn were influenced by monetary policy itself, including bond market data (the difference between long-term and short-term nominal ...
Working Paper , Paper 14-10

Working Paper
The Anatomy of Single-Digit Inflation in the 1960s

Recently, the experience of the 1960s—when the U.S. inflation rate rose rapidly and persistently over a comparatively short period—has been invoked as a cautionary tale for the present. An analysis of this period indicates that the inflation regime that prevailed in the 1960s was different in several key regards from the one that prevailed on the eve of the pandemic. Hence, there are few useable lessons to be drawn from this experience, save that monetary policymaking remains a difficult undertaking.
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2022-029

Working Paper
In the Eye of a Storm: Manhattan's Money Center Banks during the International Financial Crisis of 1931

In 1931, a financial crisis began in Austria, spread to Germany, forced Britain to abandon the gold standard, crossed the Atlantic, and afflicted financial institutions in the United States. This article describes how banks in New York City, the central money market of the United States, reacted to this trans-Atlantic financial disturbance. An array of sources tells a consistent tale. Banks in New York anticipated events in Europe, prepared for them by accumulating substantial reserves, and during the crisis, continued business as usual. New York's leading bankers deliberately and ...
Working Paper , Paper 16-7

Working Paper
Inflation Expectations and Recovery from the Depression in 1933: Evidence from the Narrative Record

This paper uses the historical narrative record to determine whether inflation expectations shifted during the second quarter of 1933, precisely as the recovery from the Great Depression took hold. First, by examining the historical news record and the forecasts of contemporary business analysts, we show that inflation expectations increased dramatically. Second, using an event-studies approach, we identify the impact on financial markets of the key events that shifted inflation expectations. Third, we gather new evidence--both quantitative and narrative--that indicates that the shift in ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2015-29

Working Paper
Did the Founding of the Federal Reserve Affect the Vulnerability of the Interbank System to Systemic Risk?

As a result of legal restrictions on branch banking, an extensive interbank system developed in the United States during the 19th century to facilitate interregional payments and flows of liquidity and credit. Vast sums moved through the interbank system to meet seasonal and other demands, but the system also transmitted shocks during banking panics. The Federal Reserve was established in 1914 to reduce reliance on the interbank market and correct other defects that caused banking system instability. Drawing on recent theoretical work on interbank networks, we examine how the Fed?s ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2016-059

Working Paper
Banking panics and deflation in dynamic general equilibrium

This paper develops a framework to study the interaction between banking, price dynamics, and monetary policy. Deposit contracts are written in nominal terms: if prices unexpectedly fall, the real value of banks' existing obligations increases. Banks default, panics precipitate, economic activity declines. If banks default, aggregate demand for cash increases because financial intermediation provided by banks disappears. When money supply is unchanged, the price level drops, thereby providing incentives for banks to default. Active monetary policy prevents banks from failing and output from ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2015-18

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