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Liquidity Traps for Money, Bank Credit, and Interest Rates

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journal contribution
posted on 01.07.1998, 00:00 authored by Karl Brunner, Allan MeltzerAllan Meltzer

Few conclusions about economic events have been repeated as frequently or have had as much influence on economists' attitudes toward monetary policy as the assertion that the monetary system of the thirties was "caught in a liquidity trap." Empirical studies of the public's demand for money and the banks' demand for earning assets seemed to support the assertion about a trap and the closely related conclusion that monetary policy had no effect on output, employment, and prices during at least some part of the thirties.1 Conclusions about the occurrence of a trap and the ineffectiveness of monetary policy were reinforced by central bankers' statements that likened monetary policy to "pushing on a string."2 Taken together the empirical evidence and the central bankers' interpretations convinced many economists that some form of a trap had existed (Keynes 1936 p. 207; Fellner, 1948, pp. 81-83, 91-93; Villard, 1948, pp. 324 334 345- Shaw, 1950, pp. 283-85)




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