A couple of weeks ago I came across a great paper by Peter Rosenkranz, Tobias Straumann and Ulrich Woitek – “A Small Open Economy in the Great Depression: the Case of Switzerland”. It is great paper. Here is the abstract:
Estimating a New Keynesian small open economy model for the period 1926-1938, we investigate the causes of the slow recovery of the Swiss economy of the Great Depression in the 1930s. Our results show that the decision to participate in the gold bloc after 1933 at an overvalued currency can be identified as the main reason for the unusual long lasting recession. Even the recovery of the world econ- omy starting in 1931/1932, and thus a boost of foreign demand could not offset the negative effects of disadvantageous terms of trade. A counterfactual experiment demonstrates that in case of leaving gold earlier (e.g. together with the UK in 1931), the Swiss economy would have recovered much faster, almost immediately reaching the pre-crisis output level.