Money Doctor's sem: Hugh Rockoff “O.M.W. Sprague (the Man Who “Wrote the Book” on Financial Crises) meets the Great Depression”
- Date: –17:00
- Location: via Zoom
- Lecturer: Hugh Rockoff (Rutgers University)
- Organiser: Department of Economic History / UCBH
- Contact person: Anders Ögren
When the Great Depression struck the United States, O.M.W. Sprague was America’s foremost expert on financial crises. His History of Crises under the National Banking System is still a frequently cited classic. Had he diagnosed a banking panic and called for an aggressive response by the Federal Reserve, it might have made a difference; but he did not. Sprague’s misdiagnosis had, I argue, two causes. First, the crisis lacked the symptoms of a panic, such as high interest rates in the New York money market, which Sprague had identified from his studies of previous crises. Second, Sprague’s macro-economic ideas led him to conclude that monetary expansion could do little once a depression was underway. Sprague’s main concern was that abandoning the gold standard would intensify the crisis, a concern that led him to protest Roosevelt’s gold policy by resigning his position as advisor to the U.S. Treasury.
Presentations are kept to 30 minutes sharp, thereafter follows a discussion of up to 45 minutes (or longer if some participants want to keep on going).
Zoom link and passcode are sent out the same day as the seminar.
Organisers: Anders Ögren (Uppsala University/UCBH) Andrés Álvarez (Universidad de los Andes), Vincent Bignon (Banque de France) and Masato Shizume (Waseda University).