Graduation Year

Spring 2013

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Kerry Odell

Reader 2

Manfred Keil

Rights Information

© 2013 Amanda M Hiatt



In this thesis, I evaluate how fiscal and monetary stimulus policies contribute to the economic recovery process of recessions in the United States. Using a case study approach, I will study ten major recessions over the 20th century and early 21st century to answer this question. I will study the different fiscal and monetary policies implemented during the following recessions: the Great Depression; the Recession of 1937, the Recession of 1945, the Recession of 1953, the 1973-75 Recession, the 1980 Recession, the Early 1980s Recession, the Early 1990s Recession, the Early 2000s Recession, and the Late-2000s Recession. The literature suggests a wide range of conflicting viewpoints as to the most effective stimulus policies for economic recovery. I conclude that while both monetary and fiscal stimulus policies have been effective in contributing to GDP growth and reductions in unemployment, it is evident that each recession requires a unique policy response. In many cases, I find value in implementing both monetary and fiscal policy, jointly, as they complement one another. I also find that, generally, monetary policy is most effective in contributing to the economic recovery process of recessions through open market operations that reduce the interest rate and that fiscal policy is most effective in contributing to the economic recovery process of recessions through government spending. My systematic exploration of these policies and the recession case studies, provide valuable information of the effects of these policies and provide insight into the appropriate use of stimulus policies in the current economy and for future recessions and recoveries.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.