Great depressions of the 20th century

Timothy J. Kehoe, Edward C. Prescott

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

106 Scopus citations


The papers in this issue study nine depressions-both from the interwar period in Europe and North America and from more recent times in Japan and Latin America-using a common framework. All of the papers rely on growth accounting to decompose changes in output into the portions due to changes in factor inputs and the portion due to the changes in efficiency with which these factors are used. All of the papers employ simple applied dynamic general equilibrium models. Collectively, these papers indicate that government policies that affect productivity and hours per working-age person are the crucial determinants of the great depressions of the 20th century. Journal of Economic Literature Classification Numbers: E32, N10, O40.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalReview of Economic Dynamics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
1Preliminary versions of most of the papers in this issue were presented at the conference Great Depressions of the Twentieth Century at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. We thank the Minneapolis Fed for organizing and funding this conference. We also thank the members of the Applied Theory Workshop at the University of Minnesota, who refereed and helped to edit the papers in this issue: Sami Alpanda, Pedro Amaral, Ron Leung, Igor Livshits, Jim MacGee, Michael Rolleigh, Kim Ruhl, and Evridiki Tsounta. The authors of the papers in the issue provided invaluable feedback on this introductory paper. We gratefully acknowledge the support of the National Science Foundation. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis or the Federal Reserve System. The data used in the papers in this issue are available at the Society of Economic Dynamics Web site http: review.htm .

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  • Depression
  • Dynamic general equilibrium
  • Growth accounting
  • Total factor productivity


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