Economic Growth and Recovery in the United States: 1919-1941

67 Pages Posted: 29 Apr 2012

See all articles by Alexander J. Field

Alexander J. Field

Santa Clara University - Leavey School of Business - Economics Department

Date Written: March 2, 2012

Abstract

This paper has two main sections and an appendix. The first provides an overview of what lay behind record productivity growth in the US economy between 1929 and 1941. The second considers the role of rigidities and other negative supply conditions in worsening the downturn and slowing recovery. While I argue consistently that the overarching explanation of the Great Depression will and should continue to emphasize a collapse and slow revival of the growth of aggregate demand, I spend relatively little time on what drives this, since the literature deals extensively with this elsewhere. The paper instead concentrates on the aggregate supply side - both the broad array of positive shocks that I argue propelled potential and, eventually, actual output forward, and the negative conditions which, in interaction with aggregate demand, may have increased the size of the output gap and prolonged its persistence. An appendix offers detail discussion and updated calculations of productivity growth rates for the critical period 1929 through 1941.

Keywords: Great Depression, aggregate supply, economic growth

JEL Classification: E32, N12, O47

Suggested Citation

Field, Alexander J., Economic Growth and Recovery in the United States: 1919-1941 (March 2, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2015044 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2015044

Alexander J. Field (Contact Author)

Santa Clara University - Leavey School of Business - Economics Department ( email )

500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA California 95053
United States
408 554 4348 (Phone)
408 554 2331 (Fax)

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