The Role of Bank Failures & Panics: The Great Depression

Economic Episodes in American History: The Great Depression, Part 6

In this video on the Great Depression, expert David Wheelock of the St. Louis Fed explains the relationship between bank failures and the collapse of the money supply. He also describes how a declining money supply influences employment, inflation/deflation and economic output. "That is the monetary explanation for the Great Depression. Bank failures, bank runs cause a contraction of the money supply; causes a decline in spending, investing and GDP."

David Wheelock gives a presentation on “The Great Depression” as part of an economic education workshop at the St. Louis Fed. Recorded July 11, 2013.

Part 1: Why Do We Still Study the Great Depression? (5:55)

Part 2: Some Useful Terms (7:03)

Part 3: How Great Was the Great Depression? (3:06)

Part 4: The Great Recession vs. the Great Depression (6:25)

Part 5: What Caused the Great Depression? (9:59)

Part 6: The Role of Bank Failures and Panics (11:33)

Part 7: Where Was the Fed? (6:48)

Part 8: What Caused the Recovery? (3:47)

Part 9: Lessons Learned and Concluding Remarks (3:01)

For additional Great Depression-related multimedia resources, from newsreels to oral histories, visit our audio, video and interview series pages.

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