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Emerging Financial Markets and Early U.S. Growth

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  • Peter L. Rousseau

    (Vanderbilt University)

  • Richard Sylla

    (New York University)

Abstract

Studies of early U.S. growth traditionally have emphasized real-sector explanations for an acceleration that by many accounts became detectable between 1815 and 1840. Interestingly, the establishment of the nation's basic financial structure predated by three decades the canals, railroads, and widespread use of water and steam-powered machinery that are thought to have triggered modernization. We argue that this innovative and expanding financial system, by providing debt and equity financing to businesses and governments as new technologies emerged, was central to the nation's early growth and modernization. The analysis includes a set of multivariate time series models that relate measures of banking and equity market activity to measures of investment, imports and business incorporations from 1790 to 1850. The findings offer support for our hypothesis of "finance-led" growth in the U.S. case. By implication, the interest today in improving financial systems as a means of fostering sustainable growth is not misplaced.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Econometric Society in its series Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers with number 1254.

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Date of creation: 01 Aug 2000
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Handle: RePEc:ecm:wc2000:1254

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  1. Peter L. Rousseau, 2003. "Historical perspectives on financial development and economic growth," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 81-106.
  2. Greenwood, Jeremy & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1990. "Financial Development, Growth, and the Distribution of Income," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 1076-1107, October.
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  7. Rousseau, Peter L., 1998. "The permanent effects of innovation on financial depth:: Theory and US historical evidence from unobservable components models," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 387-425, July.
  8. Rajan, Raghuram G. & Zingales, Luigi, 2003. "The great reversals: the politics of financial development in the twentieth century," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 5-50, July.
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