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Working Paper

Credit Crises, Money, and Contractions: A Historical View

The relatively infrequent nature of major credit distress events makes a historical approach particularly useful. Using a combination of historical narrative and econometric techniques, we identify major periods of credit distress from 1875 to 2007, examine the extent to which credit distress arises as part of the transmission of monetary policy, and document the subsequent effect on output. Using turning points defined by the Harding-Pagan algorithm, we identify and compare the timing, duration, amplitude, and comovement of cycles in money, credit, and output. Regressions show that financial distress events exacerbate business cycle downturns both in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and that a confluence of such events makes recessions even worse.

Suggested Citation

Bordo, Michael D., and Joseph G. Haubrich. 2009. “Credit Crises, Money, and Contractions: A Historical View .” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Working Paper No. 09-08.