36 pages, 655 KB


We survey the treatment of the Depression in college-level textbooks for courses in US history and economics. History textbooks emphasis on inequality, the stock market crash, and underconsumption as the primary causes does not reflect the consensus of economic historians. Introductory economics textbooks use the Great Depression as an example to illustrate macroeconomic concepts in ways aligned with the research consensus, which emphasizes declining aggregate demand and issues related to monetary policy and the financial system. History textbooks could be improved by focusing more on bank failures, the actions of the Federal Reserve, monetary deflation, and declines in autonomous spending.