Supply-Side Policies in the Depression: Evidence from France

Jérémie Cohen-Setton (PIIE), Joshua K. Hausman (University of Michigan) and Johannes F. Wieland (University of California, San Diego)

Working Paper

A version of this paper was accepted for publication and is forthcoming in the Journal of Money,
Credit, & Banking.

March 2017

The effects of supply-side policies in depressed economies are controversial. This Working Paper sheds light on this debate using evidence from France in the 1930s. In 1936, France departed from the gold standard and implemented mandatory wage increases and hours restrictions. Deflation ended but output stagnated. The authors present time-series and cross-sectional evidence that these supply-side policies, in particular the 40-hour law, contributed to French stagflation. These results are inconsistent both with the standard one-sector new Keynesian model and with a medium-scale, multi-sector model calibrated to match the authors’ cross-sectional estimates. They conclude that the new Keynesian model is a poor guide to the effects of supply-side shocks in depressed economies.

Data Disclosure: 

The data underlying this analysis are available here.