NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Impact of Cartelization, Money, and Productivity Shocks on the International Great Depression

Harold L. Cole, Lee E. Ohanian

NBER Working Paper No. 18823
Issued in February 2013
NBER Program(s):   DAE   EFG

This study exploits panel data from 18 countries to assess the contributions of cartelization policies, monetary shocks, and productivity shocks on macroeconomic activity during the Great Depression. To construct a parsimonious and common model framework, we use the fact that many cartel policies are observationally equivalent to a country-specific labor tax wedge. We estimate a monetary DSGE model with cartel wedges along with productivity and monetary shocks. Our main finding is that cartel policy shocks account for the bulk of the Depression in the countries that adopted significant cartel policies, including the large depressions in the U.S., Germany, Italy, and Australia, and that the estimated cartel policy shocks plausibly coincide with the actual evolution of policies in these countries. In contrast, cartel policy shocks in the countries that did not significantly change policies were small and account for little of their Depressions.

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