Economist Douglas Irwin of Dartmouth College has stirred up a bit of a fuss by concluding in some academic research that it was France, not the United States, that was most to blame for The Great Depression.

Irwin’s theory, in a paper posted here by the National Bureau of Economic Research, is that France created an artificial shortage of gold reserves¬†when it increased its share from 7 percent to 27 percent between 1927 and 1932. ¬†Because major currencies at the time were backed by gold under the Gold Standard, this put other countries under enormous deflationary pressure.

To prove his point, Irwin ran a model looking at what would have happened without the French move. The results:

Counterfactual simulations indicate that world prices would have increased slightly between 1929 and 1933, instead of declining calamitously.

All this runs counter to the traditional finger-pointing for The Great Depression, which has it that the U.S Federal Reserve tipped the world into the economic abyss by tightening monetary policy.