In this paper I analyze the process leading to the abandonment of the gold standard in the U.S. in1933, and the devaluation of the dollar in 1934. I argue that most changes of monetary regime have an impact on contracts. In this specific case, contracts that were written in terms of gold, or "gold equivalent," were rewritten in paper dollars. Congress did this on June 5 1933, when it abrogated the "gold clause" retroactively. The Supreme Court validated the move in February 1935. The result was a very large transfer of wealth from creditors to debtors. I use daily data on commodity prices to investigate the extent to which these policies contributed to ending deflation. I find that commodity prices reacted strongly to the announcement of policy changes, and to legal procedures involving contracts. These results are consistent with the "change in regime" hypothesis of Sargent.
The information below has been drawn from sources outside of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries. In most instances, the information will be from sources that have not been peer reviewed by scholarly or research communities. Please report cases in which the information is inaccurate through the Contact Us link below.