Patrice Baubeau, Eric Monnet, Angelo Riva, Stefano Ungaro, 29 November 2018

Previous research has downplayed the role of banking panics and financial factors in the French Great Depression. This column uses a newly assembled dataset of balance sheets for more than 400 French banks from the interwar period to challenge this long-held idea. The empirical results show two dramatic waves of panic in 1930 and 1931, and point to a flight-to-safety mechanism. The findings illustrate how minor macroeconomic assumptions and extrapolations on monetary statistics can introduce large, persistent biases in historiography.

James Cloyne, Nicholas Dimsdale, Natacha Postel-Vinay, 02 November 2018

The austerity, low interest rates, and sluggish growth in Britain between the two World Wars mirror today's economic circumstances. The column investigates the causal impact of tax changes on growth at the time. A 1% cut in taxes raised GDP by between 0.5% and 1% on impact, and by more than 2% over two years. This suggests that tax changes had an important macroeconomic impact and have the potential to generate similar effects today.

Alan de Bromhead, Alan Fernihough, Markus Lampe, Kevin O'Rourke, 24 March 2017

With Brexit looming, and protectionist pressures mounting elsewhere in the developed world, the question of whether trade policy matters is taking on more significance. This column looks at the extent to which trade policy was responsible for the shift towards intra-imperial trade in the interwar period. Both tariffs and quotas increased the Empire’s share of British trade, suggesting that trade policy mattered more for interwar trade patterns than the cliometric literature has suggested.

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