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Thomas Ferguson and Robert Johnson

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Gerald Epstein and Thomas Ferguson

Early in 1932 the Federal Reserve System made a serious attempt to reverse the "Great Contraction" through expansionary open market operations, but abandoned it a few months later. In this paper we offer an interpretation of the episode that throws new light on the Fed's behavior during the Great Depresssion. Key are the attitude of private bankers, Britain's abandonment of the gold standard, and the brief open market campaign. To protect bank profits the Fed abandoned the progarm which set the stage for the complete finacial collapse od the United States in early 1933.

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Thomas Ferguson, Paul D. Jorgensen and Jie Chen

For months the suspense built up. By the late Spring of 1987, the initial trickle of anxious conjectures had swollen into a raging torrent of speculation and suspicion. On 2 June 1987, the worldwide guessing game came at last to an end: the White House announced that President Reagan would nominate Alan Greenspan to replace Paul Volcker as Chair of the Federal Reserve Board. Markets reacted with shock: ‘the news stunned the financial markets, which had come to regard a third term for Mr. Volcker as highly probable. Bonds finished with one of the biggest losses on record, and the dollar tumbled’ (Hershey 1987). At the time, the official story was that Volcker had indicated in a lette that ‘he did not wish to be reappointed after eight years in the job’. Even then many doubted that was the whole truth: ‘It appeared that White House efforts to persuade Mr. Volcker to remain were minimal. It is understood that Mr. Volcker would have accepted a reappointment to the post if the President himself had urged him to do so. But no such effort was made’.