Deflation, Productivity Shocks and Gold: Evidence from the 1880-1914 Period

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In this paper we examine the sources and impact of deflation on the growth experiences of the four dominant countries on the gold standard in the period 1880-1913: the United States, The United Kingdom, France and Germany. We distinguish between good deflation, (driven by positive aggregate supply shocks) and bad deflation (driven by aggregate demand shocks). We use an empirical Blanchard/Quah model which decomposes the behaviour of prices, output and the money stock into the impact of shocks such as a world price level shock, a domestic supply shock, and domestic demand shocks including a shock to the domestic gold stock. Our key finding is that the European economies were essentially classic in the sense that output was mainly supply driven and that money was neutral even when country specific gold stocks are included. In the United States, however, we observe both good and bad deflation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)515-546
Number of pages32
JournalOpen Economies Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics and Econometrics


  • Deflation
  • Demand shocks
  • Gold standard
  • Supply shocks

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