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Major RecessionsBritain and the World 1920-1995$
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Christopher Dow

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780199241231

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199241236.001.0001

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The Two Interwar Recessions

The Two Interwar Recessions

(p.133) 6 The Two Interwar Recessions
Major Recessions

Christopher Dow

Oxford University Press

Through most of the interwar period, UK unemployment was high: it was high after the recession of 1921, and higher again during and after the Great Depression of 1929–32. It was argued in Ch. 3 that if the economy becomes underemployed, it tends to stay underemployed, and if that is so, the question is not why unemployment stayed high after 1921 or remained higher after 1929, but what caused the breaks at these two dates, checked output, and pushed unemployment higher then, and after 1932 brought unemployment down. Section 6.1 gives an overview of the whole interwar period, Sect. 6.2 looks at the 1921 recession and the following years, and then, since it is argued that the recession of 1929–32 was dominated by events in the USA, Sect. 6.3 discusses the US Great Depression. Section 6.4 then looks at the international transmission of that Depression and its manifestation in the UK, and Sect. 6.5 at the UK recovery after 1932, while conclusions of theoretical interest are stated in Sect. 6.6. Three appendices discuss Friedman and Schwartz's (1963) Monetary History of the United States, Eichengreen's (1992) Golden Fetters, and the international transmission of the US Depression, and there is also a statistical appendix.

Keywords:   Great Depression, history, international transmission, output, recession, recovery, UK, underemployment, unemployment, USA

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