The Great Depression A Macroeconomics Report

It is by and large said that roar and recession are portion and package of an economic system. Every state in the universe has faced such periods but 1929 was one of the periods that marked the beginning of most annihilating depression of the twentieth century. A depression that lasted for more than a decennary and which rendered many people stateless and idle. Commodity monetary values, international trade, demand, agricultural merchandises, agriculture, banking, heavy industry, etc about every country of different states faced the heat of it. In current epoch, illustration of Great Depression is quoted at several occasions to demo how badly economic system of a state or universe can worsen to the abysmal degrees.

The great depression started in 1929 and lasted up to early 40s. Initially, it is believed to be started with the stock market clang in October 1929 and so easy spread to the full universe. All the states around the universe such as Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Australia, and Soviet Union etc were straight or indirectly affected by this depression. Cities around the universe faced deteriorating economic conditions and lag of the industries. Mining, agriculture, and concern around the universe were hit hard.

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This depression ended in several states in the mid or late 1930s but in some states it was prolonged to 1940s and it is believed that get downing of World War II helped several economic systems to come out of this recession. Different theoreticians account for different grounds for the durable depression but no definite decision has been reached so far. Most of the historiographers believe that clang of stock market ( in 1929 ) and bank failures have led to the beginning of the Great Depression. On the other manus, great economic experts, such as Peter-Temin, explain the unequal pecuniary policy and gold-standard as the chief ground of this depression. Few blame the steps of the U.S. President Hoover for the beginning of a glooming decennary while some have a impression that conditions during the Great Depression handed over power to the most oppressive swayer of all times – ‘Hitler ‘.

It may be hard for us to recognize and understand the grudge of the people who went through this period but what is more of import to understand are the grounds that created this mayhem. Great depression offers us an unparallel chance to larn from the errors of the yesteryear.

Situation During the Great Depression

World has faced one of the inexorable state of affairss during the Great Depression. Teeming 1000000s of people have faced a deficit of nutrient, shelter and vesture because of unemployment and intelligence of the bank and concern failure had become rather common those yearss. Few of the following parametric quantities talk about the state of affairs in US during the great depression.

Bank Failures

Banking industry was the hardest hit sector during the Great Depression. Around every bit many as 10000 Bankss suspended, in the US itself, during the great depression from 1929 to 1933. Suspension does non intend the lasting failure but it includes the impermanent failure besides. Because of the deflation most people were seeking to keep money in their custodies and non in the Bankss taking to Bank Runs. Unsupportive response from Federal Reserve and authorities worsen the status and Bankss kept on neglecting. If the pecuniary policy would hold been supportive so such a monolithic failure could be tackled. However, following tabular array and chart explains the bank failure between 1929 and 1933. Equally shortly as the reign of US authorities was handed over to the President Roosevelt state of affairs began to better.

We can clearly detect that figure of Bankss suspended increased from 1929 to 1933 and with a immense figure. In 1929 around 659 Bankss suspended whereas this figure increased in subsequent old ages and reached its extremum in 1933. This clearly shows the falling religion of the people in the banking system and their penchant to retreat money from the bank and maintain it to themselves.


Unemployment during the great depression in US had reached the unprecedented degrees. It was the clip when people non holding occupations were enduring for nutrient, shelter, and vesture whereas on the other manus people holding occupations were feared of losing them. Everyone was under terror and the end product of the industry was steeply falling. History shows that on the mean unemployment rate in US has been 10 % but it started traveling up in 1929.

In the above graph y-axis shows the per centum of unemployment. In the twelvemonth 1929, after the clang of US stock market, unemployment started lifting. By the twelvemonth 1932 it reached up to a degree of 25 % and during the full depression period it remained at a high degree. Thereafter, unemployment bit by bit declined in the late thirties with the growing of demand market.

Business Failure

Depression period faced a immense rise in the figure of failures of concerns. During this period every 127 concerns failed for 1000 concerns. However, this failure rate was rather less in other periods. For case, mean concern failure rate in 1940s and 1950s was on an mean 23 and 45 severally for every 1000 concerns. This comparing clearly demarcates the inexorable state of affairs during this annihilating period.


GDP of United States of America started worsening in 1929 and bottomed down in the twelvemonth 1933. Thereafter, with the improved market status GDP began to lift. Following graph explains this phenomenon during this period.

This is a comparative graph and shows growing in GDP in different old ages. In the early 40s, US economic system benefitted a batch due to increasing demand in the market as US enters into the World War II after the Pearl Harbor onslaught by Japan in December 1941.

U.S. Debt

United States of America Debt curve precisely followed the antonym of GDP growing. On an mean US Debt has been about 150 % of its GDP but during the Great Depression period this per centum was raised to more than 200 % and it peaked to every bit much as 300 % in the twelvemonth 1933. From our recent apprehension of Greece crisis we can clearly understand the effects when Debt increases in excessively much proportion to GDP. As the Greece Debt increases in excessively much proportion to its GDP, the state was non able to pay on its debt. It has to trust on the International Monetary Fund and other European States for its support. However, during the 1930s there was no such thing called International Monetary Fund. Therefore, when a state enters into job because of its debt so its deliverance depends merely on the other states which become really hard during the times of World War.

Monetary value

US economic system entered into deflation during the period of Great Depression. Following graph shows the diminution in US monetary value during this period and we can clearly detect that monetary value index about fell by 25-30 % during first four old ages of Depression. Then after, with the stableness in the economic system it began to increase.


Bread lines are free repasts for stateless people. They were fundamentally what we call soup kitchens now. In these bread lines people used to stand in waiting line in hundred of Numberss to obtain nutrient. The thought of bread line turned into world during the great depression when nutrient was offered to people either free or at a really low monetary value. These soup kitchen lines are by and large organized by voluntary groups or community groups or church. These groups farther obtain nutrient at a really low monetary value because patronizing a bread line is by and large considered charity.

Causes of the Great Depression

The cardinal cause of deterioration of Great Depression was the lessening in aggregative demand which led to. Decrease in demand occurred because of several events such as gilded criterion, contractionary pecuniary policy, stock market clang, etc.

Great Crash of 1929

It is believed that Great Crash and Great Depression are the same event and normally used as equivalent word. However, for economic experts these two events are rather different and demand independent research. Despite the duality that economic experts give between these two events, there is one land world that Great Depression began in 1929 merely before the stock market clang which farther worsened its status.

Dow Jones industrial mean index was founded by Charles Dow on May 26, 1896 and at that clip it represented the dollar norm of 12 stocks from taking American industries. In 1896 this index stood at 40.96 and in Jun 1914, merely before universe war, index stood at 71.42. During 1920s, figure of stocks increased to 30 in this index and index was working in its healthy phase.

Thereafter, few events happened that led to crisp rise in this index boulder clay 1929.

Federal Reserve money supply additions after World War-I i.e. since 1920 – Post World War I, in order to hike economic system Federal Reserve had put a big sum of money into the US. Because of this increased money supply, people had tonss of money at their custodies and therefore they started puting into the equity markets. This investing led to unprecedented highs in Dow Jones Industrial Average index and market rose really aggressively.

Bad roar led to 1000s of Americans to put in the stock market – Once the investing in the stock market get down to increase so the lifting index attracted more and more people. A important figure of them borrowed money to put in stock market. Over $ 8.5 billion was out on loan, more than the full sum of currency go arounding in the U.S. at the clip. Thus a immense sum of money was put into stock market without any grounds that led to speculative roar in this market.

Margin purchasing was encouraged a batch – Agents further intensified these investings by leting investors to utilize merely 10 % of border money to put in the stock market. Small sum of border money further ignited the upward force per unit area on the stock market and when subsequently on these markets tumbled down so agents faced the heat of it as more and more investors defaulted on their histories.

After this heavy upwards motions in the stock market, Government tighten the pecuniary policy to diminish bad investings in the Stock Market. Afterwards, with a little diminution in stock market, panic spread in the market and all of a sudden terror merchandising started. This resulted in crisp falls in the stock market and a immense sum of loss for the investor money.

Dow Jones Industrial Average had a extremum of 381.17 in September and so it started toppling down from at that place. It about touched a depression of 40 in 1933 and started retrieving after that. On October 24, 1929, with the Dow merely past its September 3 extremum of 381.17, the market eventually turned down, and panic merchandising started.

Following are the major motions in this index –

Above graph demonstrates how these alterations happened harmonizing to macroeconomics. After the tightening of pecuniary policy Demand ( D1 ) fell to D2. Stock market clang farther pushed this demand downwards up to degree of D3 and end product at this degree is shown by Yrec i.e. Output at recession which is less every bit compared to original end product Yo.

Theories Explicating Recession Phenomenon

Classical Theory

As per classical theory, classical economic sciences theory is based on the premiss that free markets can modulate themselves if left entirely, free of any human intercession and no authorities intercession is required. Classical economic experts besides believe that the best pecuniary policy during a crisis is no pecuniary policy.

Keynesian theory

As per Keynesian theory – “ Long tally is a deceptive usher to current personal businesss. In the long tally we are all dead. ” Therefore, Keynesian economic theoretical accounts emphasis on the fact that Government intercession is perfectly necessary to guarantee growing and economic stableness in the short-run.

Harmonizing to the classical theory, lessening in demand adjusts automatically as is explained by above graph. Decrease in demand leads to fall in demand from AD to AD1. But at this demand wages lessenings so industry will be ready to engage more employees and therefore supply additions from ASsr to ASsr1. As a consequence end product reaches back to its original degree from Yrec to Yfe.

But Keynesian theory explains that this is non possible in the short tally. Keynesian account is given on the footing of following graph –

Employees will non be ready to work at any pay degree. There is a lower bound beyond which workers will non accept any pay. This degree is given by Pe. Therefore, if one time aggregative demand falls so end product falls to Yrecession. There is no ego mechanism to come out of this state of affairs. In order to decide this, authorities has to take some actions otherwise recession will non come out of this state of affairs on its ain.

Second account given by classical theory is that lessening in end product will diminish investings which decreases involvement rates farther. This lessening in involvement will once more take to increase in investing and therefore the end product. This phenomenon is explained in the undermentioned graph.

But harmonizing to Keynesian lessening in involvement rates will non take to once more increase in end product because the sum of investing was determined independently by long-run net income outlooks, and, to a lesser extent, the involvement rate. Besides Keynesian believed that involvement rate is determined chiefly by money supply and demand.

Third account given by Classical theory is that balance budget is of premier importance. As during the depression end product was falling and therefore, the gross. As a consequence authorities gross was diminishing because of diminishing revenue enhancement gross sum and President Hoover increased revenue enhancements to equilibrate the budget as shown in the undermentioned graph.

Higher Revenue Enhancements

But Keynesian explains this phenomenon maintaining head short term position. He explained that higher revenue enhancements led to farther lessening in the end product. However, the better option would hold been is intervention by authorities. If authorities has increased financial policy so it could hold led to increase in end product and take out state of the recession as shown in following graph.

Smoot – Hawley Tariff Act, 1930

During the great depression, end product of US citizens chiefly husbandmans decreased. With lessening in end product income of husbandmans were besides worsening as the monetary values were dunking down. Therefore, in order to protect these husbandmans from farther competition authorities enacted Smoot Hawley Tariff Act in 1930. Under this act, responsibility on import was increased to 50 % in 1931-1935 from 25.9 % in 1921-1925 ( ad-valorem responsibilities ) . With the addition in import duty measure of imported Begin to worsen and therefore it was expected that husbandmans will be able to sell more. But on the contrary other states besides increased their import duties in revenge and therefore exports from the United States begin to worsen. American exports declined from about $ 5.2 billion in 1929 to $ 1.7 billion in 1933. The hardest hit were farm trade goods such as wheat, cotton, baccy, and lumber. Loss of demand because of lessening in demand dominated over the benefits due to lesser import. Overall demand of US goods produced farther decreased. This phenomenon is explained diagrammatically as shown below –

Above figure shows the addition in monetary value in domestic market after the addition in import duty. The two figures below so explicate this phenomenon. In the first figure general conditions are shown which used to predominate in United States of America and trade excess is about equal to merchandise shortage. But in the 2nd figure it is shown that with the addition in import duties, imports have reduced but exports have besides reduced. Thus the overall consequence has been a diminution in trade excess and addition in trade shortage.


At that clip US was major exporter of agricultural trade goods. Therefore with fewer exports husbandmans have lower income and they began to default on loans. As more and more husbandmans began to default on loan Bankss started losing money. Looking at this scenario general people get downing losing religion in Bankss and retreating money from the Bankss. This status led to Bank Runs and economic system state of affairs in US farther deteriorated.

Gold Standard

Some economic experts believe that the Federal Reserve allowed or caused the immense diminutions in the American money supply partially to continue the gilded criterion. Under the gilded criterion, each state set a value of its currency in footings of gold and took pecuniary actions to support the fixed monetary value. It is possible that had the Federal Reserve expanded greatly in response to the banking terrors, aliens could hold lost assurance in the United States ‘ committedness to the gilded criterion. This could hold led to big gold escapes and the United States could hold been forced to devaluate. Likewise, had the Federal Reserve non tightened in the autumn of 1931, it is possible that there would hold been a bad onslaught on the dollar and the Unites States would hold been forced to abandon the gilded criterion along with Great Britain. While there is argument about the function the gilded criterion played in restricting U.S. pecuniary policy, there is no inquiry that it was a cardinal factor in the transmittal of the American diminution to the remainder of the universe.

Under the gilded criterion, instabilities in trade or plus flows gave rise to international gold flows. For illustration, in the mid-1920s intense international demand for American assets such as stocks and bonds brought big influxs of gold to the United States. Likewise, a determination by France after World War I to return to the gilded criterion with an undervalued franc led to merchandise excesss and significant gold influxs. Britain chose to return to the gilded criterion after World War I at the prewar para. Wartime rising prices, nevertheless, implied that the lb was overvalued, and this overestimate led to merchandise shortages and significant gold escapes after 1925. To stem the gold escape, the Bank of England raised involvement rates well. High involvement rates depressed British disbursement and led to high unemployment in Great Britain throughout the 2nd half of the 1920s.

Once the U.S. economic system began to contract badly, the inclination for gold to flux out of other states and toward the United States intensified. This took topographic point because deflation in the United States made American goods peculiarly desirable to aliens, while low income reduced American demand for foreign merchandises. To antagonize the resulting inclination toward an American trade excess and foreign gold escapes, cardinal Bankss throughout the universe raised involvement rates. Keeping the international gold criterion, in kernel, required a monolithic pecuniary contraction throughout the universe to fit the one occurring in the United States. The consequence was a diminution in end product and monetary values in states throughout the universe that besides about matched the downswing in the United States.

Fiscal crises and banking terrors occurred in a figure of states besides the United States. In May 1931 payment troubles at the Creditanstalt, Austria ‘s largest bank, set off a twine of fiscal crises that enveloped much of Europe and were a cardinal factor coercing Britain to abandon the gilded criterion. Among the states hardest hit by bank failures and volatile fiscal markets were Austria, Germany, and Hungary. These widespread banking crises could hold been the consequence of hapless ordinance and other local factors, or simple contagious disease from one state to another. In add-on, the gilded criterion, by coercing states to deflate along with the United States, reduced the value of Bankss ‘ collateral and made them more vulnerable to runs. As in the United States, banking terrors and other fiscal market breaks further down end product and monetary values in a figure of states.

Nominal Interest rate?

As shown in the above graph, gilded criterion Begin to worsen because of the inordinate demand of Gold and other states taking their money out in the signifier of Gold. Therefore, if we assume fixed exchange rate to be E1 as per fixed gold sum so with the worsening militias of gold E1 falls to E2. But as President Hoover did non desire to lose gilded criterion therefore he followed contractionary pecuniary policy i.e. shifting of LM curve to LM ”. With this contractionary pecuniary policy exchange rate regains its original degree. But as end product in the economic system was already worsening and liquidness crunch was at that place. Thus, a farther tightening of pecuniary policy worsened the status and end product Begins to worsen more.

Deflationary Spiral

With the worsening demand in United Stated of America, monetary values were falling. With the falling monetary values end product was traveling down. As a consequence gross was diminishing and therefore more and more people were defaulting on loans. With these defaults, Bankss were registering bankruptcies and lay-off & A ; pay decrease were increasing. Thus a barbarous circle of deflationary spiral led to farther diminution in end product and monetary values and therefore economic system fell farther at every phase. This barbarous spiral is explained in the graph below –

Therefore, as explained one status was taking to other and other status was conveying back to the original state of affairs. This phenomenon is explained through the undermentioned figures –

Because of initial deficiency of religion during great depression end product was reduced. Therefore, suppose economic system reaches at A, and the degree of end product, Y, is below the natural degree of end product, Yn. As the end product is below the natural degree of end product so monetary value lessenings. Equally long as end product is below Yn the autumn in monetary values will maintain traveling on. Given the nominal money stock, the lessening in the monetary value degree increases the existent money stock. This addition in the existent money stock shifts the LM curve down, taking to a lower involvement rate and higher end product. After some clip, the economic system is, for illustration, at point B, with end product equal to Y. So long as end product remains below its natural degree, the monetary value degree continues to fall, and the LM curve continues to switch down. The economic system moves down the IS curve until it reaches point C, where end product is equal to Yn. In short: Output below the natural degree of end product leads to a lessening in the monetary value degree, which goes on until the economic system has returned to normal.

But what affairs more is the nominal involvement rate and existent involvement rate. For disbursement determinations i.e. IS relation, existent involvement rate – in footings of goods affairs whereas nominal involvement rate – involvement rate in footings of dollars is of import in LM relation. Thus net consequence on lessening in end product below natural degree of end product is shown in the diagram below –

Decrease in monetary values leads to a lessening in rising prices which farther leads to a lessening in expected rising prices. Then, for a given nominal involvement rate, the lessening in expected rising prices increases the existent involvement rate. The higher existent involvement rate leads, in bend, to take down disbursement and lower end product. So, at a given nominal involvement rate, the degree of end product implied by equilibrium in the goods market is lower.

The IS curve displacements to the left, from IS to IS ‘ . The displacement in the IS curve – due to the lessening in expected rising prices – tends to diminish end product. Therefore, the economic system displacements from A to B and end product lessenings from Y to Y ‘ . Therefore, if this procedure maintain traveling on, so economic system will maintain worsening from Y ‘ to Y ” and so on. This is the liquidness trap in which economic system is stuck and no self-corrective step exists to take it out from this barbarous circle. Therefore, classical theory failed to set up this relation and solution to this is given by Keynesian theory. Keynesian theory is explained from the undermentioned figure –

As the economic system is non self-corrective therefore certain steps by authorities is necessary to convey back the economic system on path. As in above figure an addition in financial policy will switch the IS ‘ curve to IS ” and increase in pecuniary policy will switch LM ‘ down to LM ” . Thus economic system will make C and end product matching to this degree is Yf which is decidedly higher than the initial instance and brings back to the growing way.

So far we have major causes of Great Depression and now we will discourse about the steps taken by authorities to stop this durable depression.


Recovery from the great depression began rather late. It started every bit early as in twelvemonth 1933 after President Roosevelt get his place in US. He started with a new trade plan which laid accent on conveying back the economic system on path.

New DEAL Plan

New Deal Program was a series of economic plans passed by the U.S. Congress during the first term of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, President of the United States, from 1933 to 1938. The plans were responses to the Great Depression, and focused on what historians call the “ 3 Rs ”: alleviation, recovery and reform. That is, alleviation for the unemployed and hapless ; recovery of the economic system to normal degrees; and reform of the fiscal system to forestall a repetition depression.

Under this trade following stairss were taken – Establishing ordinances to contend deflationary “ cut-throat competition ” through the National Recovery Administration ( NRA ) Puting minimal monetary values and rewards, labour criterions, and competitory conditions in all industries through the NRA Encouraging brotherhoods that would raise rewards, to increase the buying power of the on the job category Cuting farm production to raise monetary values through the Agricultural Adjustment Act and its replacements. Coercing concerns to work with authorities to put monetary value codifications through the NRA. All these stairss favored US economic system and conditions began to better.

World War II

Sometimes approvals come in camouflage as is the instance with World War II. World War II helped many states to come out of recession and better their economic system. Government disbursement on the war caused or at least accelerated recovery from the Great Depression. Besides, the monolithic rearmament policies helped excite the economic systems of Europe in 1937-39. US entry into WWII decreased its unemployment rate to 10 % and monolithic war disbursement doubled economic growing rates, dissembling the effects of the Depression.

Other Protective Measures

Glass-Steagall Act

During Great Depression every bit much as 4000 Bankss were suspended because of their hapless public presentation. As most of the Bankss were besides working as agents which were leting investors to merchandise with merely 10 % of border money. Finally, with the autumn of stock market investors defaulted on their payments and Bankss had to endure because of low border money. Therefore, US authorities felt the demand of dividing investing activities from commercial bank activities and as a consequence the U.S. Congress passed the Glass-Steagall Act in 1933, which mandated a separation between commercial Bankss, which take sedimentations and extend loans, and investing Bankss, which underwrite, issue, and distribute stocks, bonds, and other securities.

Temporarily suspension of stock market

A Crisp diminution in Stock market is considered one of the major causes of Great Depression and it started with terror merchandising. There after the experience of the 1929 clang, stock markets around the universe instituted steps to suspend temporarily trading in the event of rapid diminutions, claiming that the steps would forestall such panic gross revenues.

Great Depression and the World

It is by and large believed that great depression was limited to US merely. However, it existent affected the full universe and every major state around the universe such as Great Britain, Italy, Canada, etc faced the effects of it.

Following are few of the effects occurred in different states –


  • Germany was hit hard by the depression, as American loans to assist reconstruct the German economic system now stopped
  • Unemployment rate reached about 30 % in 1932
  • Hitler ‘s Nazi Party came to power in January 1933

United Kingdom

By the terminal of 1930 unemployment had more than doubled from 1 million to 2.5

Exports had fallen in value by 50 % In some towns and metropoliss in the north E, unemployment reached every bit high as 70 % as ship production fell 90 % About 200,000 unemployed work forces were sent to the work cantonments, which continued in operation until 1939


  1. Australian economic system had utmost dependance on agricultural and industrial exports
  2. Therefore it was one of the hardest-hit states in the Western universe
  3. Falling export demand and trade good monetary values placed monolithic downward force per unit areas on rewards.
  4. Unemployment reached a record high of 29 % in 1932, with incidents of civil agitation going common


  1. Unemployment reached 27 % at the deepness of the Depression in 1933
  2. Industrial production had fallen to merely 58 % of the 1929 degree by 1932
  3. During the 1930s, Canada employed a extremely restrictive in-migration policy

Other Countries

  1. Japan – GDP shrank by 8 %
  2. Netherlands – From approximately 1931-1937 suffered a deep and long depression
  3. Latin America – Chile, Bolivia, and Peru because of high investing of U.S. into these states
  4. South Africa – As universe trade slumped, demand for South African agricultural and mineral exports fell drastically

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The Great Depression A Macroeconomics Report. (2017, Jul 23). Retrieved from