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Expectations and Forecasting during the Great Depression: Real-Time Evidence from the Business Press

Gabriel Mathy () and Herman Stekler

No 2016-011, Working Papers from The George Washington University, Department of Economics, H. O. Stekler Research Program on Forecasting

Abstract: How was the Great Depression viewed in real time? This paper yields a new perspective on this question by quantifying the qualitative statements of economic analysts in the business press and at the Federal Reserve Board. We compare the statements of economic analysts about current and future conditions to what actually happened to the American economy in the Great Depression. While Depression-era economic forecasters were able to accurately assess what was happening contemporaneously in the economy, forecasters were persistently optimistic that “the corner had been turned” and that a strong recovery was imminent even as the economy continued to decline. This optimism was based on the use of analogies and rules of thumb which were no longer applicable.

Keywords: Great Depression; Qualitative Forecasts; Business Expectations (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 33 pages
Date: 2016-11
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his and nep-mac
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https://www2.gwu.edu/~forcpgm/2016-011.pdf First version, 2016 (application/pdf)

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Journal Article: Expectations and forecasting during the Great Depression: Real-time evidence from the business press (2017) Downloads
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