NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Demand For Money in the U.S. During the Great Depression: Estimates and Comparison with the Post War Experience

Dennis Hoffman, Robert H. Rasche

NBER Working Paper No. 3217
Issued in December 1989
NBER Program(s):   ME

This study investigates the equilibrium demand for narrowly defined monetary aggregate during the Great Depression. We find evidence in support of a stable demand for real balance, but no evidence in support of stable demand functions for real currency and real monetary base. This is consistent with the Friedman-Schwartz interpretation of this period.

We do not reject the hypothesis that the equilibrium demand for real Ml is stable between the pre and post WWII sample periods. We find that the "shift in the drift" of Ml velocity after 1945 and at the end of 1981 as well as the "shift in the drift" of currency and base velocities in 1981 is the image of corresponding "shift in the drift" of short-term interest rates. We interpret this as consistent with the hypothesis that the dramatic change in velocity patterns after WWII and in 1981 result from changes in inflationary expectations.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w3217

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