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The Effect of New Deal Policies Revisited

Yangyang Ji

CESifo Economic Studies, 2021, vol. 67, issue 2, 238-249

Abstract: Eggertsson (2012, American Economic Review, 102, 524–55) finds that when the nominal interest rate hits the zero lower bound, the aggregate demand (AD) curve becomes upward-sloping and supply-side policies that reduce the natural rate of output, such as the New Deal implemented in the 1930s, are expansionary. His analysis is restricted to a conventional equilibrium where the AD curve is steeper than the aggregate supply (AS) curve. Recent research, however, demonstrates that an alternative equilibrium arises if the AD curve is flatter than the AS curve. In that case, the same policies become contractionary. In this article, I allow for both possibilities, and let data decide which equilibrium the US economy actually resided in during the Great Depression. Following the work of Blanchard and Quah (1989, American Economic Review, 79, 655–73), I find that there is a high probability that New Deal policies were contractionary. (JEL codes: E32, E52, E62, N12).

Keywords: new deal; zero lower bound (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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