Garett Jones on Fisher, Debt, and Deflation


Listen to the EconTalk podcast Garett Jones on Fisher, Debt, and Deflation and consider these questions.

1. The topic of this conversation was sparked by one of Jones' EconLog posts in which he referenced Fisher's 1933 Econometrica paper, "The Debt-Deflation Theory of Great Depressions." Summarize the content of Jones' EconLog post ("Debt: The Stickiest Price of All," available at

2. This interview contains a great deal of discussion about "stickiness." What does this mean in the context of this conversation?

3. Jones argues that "interconnectedness" is a big part of modern capitalism. What sort of connections does he have in mind, and among whom? And why does he believe them to be of such importance?

4. What are some of the supply side effects of mass bankruptcy? What is the "debt overhang hypothesis?"

5. In describing Fisher's theory, Roberts says, "The boom sows the seeds for the bust." What does he mean by this?

6. Jones suggests that the classical gold standard did much to preclude the sort of debt deflation Fisher discusses in his article. Why might that have been the case?

7. Roberts asks Jones why he finds this brief article by Fisher to be more convincing than Keynes' General Theory. How does Jones respond?

8. To what extent does Jones believe that wages are flexible downward, and why?

9. Toward the end of the interview, Jones tells Roberts that he is sympathetic with the Fed's QE3. What reasons does he offer for his support? To what extent do you agree?