The European Journal of Comparative Economics

ISSN: 1824-2979

EJCE Year: 2014, June. Volume: 11 - Issue: 1

The Great Depression and the Great Recession: A Comparative Analysis of their Analogies

by Cristina Peicuti

Start page: 55 - End page: 78

Keywords: financial crisis, Great Depression, credit, subprime mortgage crisis, liquidity, inflation, central bank, commercial bank

Jel code: E51; F01; G15; G21

Abstract:

The decades preceding the Great Depression and the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis have close similarities. Both decades were characterized by rapid growth without major contractions, by an increase in liquidity, a lack of inflation, and a generalized decrease in risk premiums. Additional similarities included significant changes in the financing of real estate by commercial banks along with a consolidation of the banking sector and high hopes that the efficiency of monetary policy would prevent financial crises. These decades were also characterized by the consolidation of the powers of young central banks (the Federal Reserve System in the 1920s and the European Central Bank in the 2000s), by unsuccessful attempts to control market speculation, by their international dimensions, and by the eruption of crises after the failure of a major American financial institution that could have been avoided. Understanding these analogies help us better identify the causes of the subprime mortgage crisis and prevent history from repeating itself to the extentof such large-scale devastating consequences.

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