Contagion and bank failures during the Great Depression: the June 1932 Chicago banking panic
AbstractStudies of pre-Depression banking argue that banking panics resulted from depositor confusion about the incidence of shocks, and that interbank cooperation avoided unwarranted failures. This paper uses individual bank data to address the question of whether solvent Chicago banks failed during the panic asthe result of confusion by depositors. Chicago banks are divided" into three groups: panic failures, failures outside the panic window, and survivors. The characteristics of these three groups are compared to determine whether the banks that failed during the panic were similar ex ante" to those that survived the panic or whether they shared characteristics with other banks that failed. Each category of comparison -- the market-to-book value of equity, the estimated probability or failure or duration of survival the composition of debt, the rates of withdrawal of debt during 1931, and the interest rates paid on debt -- leads to the same conclusion: banks that failed during the panic were similar to others that failed and different from survivors. The special attributes of failing banks were distinguishable at least six months before the panic and were reflected in stock prices, failure probabilities, debt composition, and interest rates at least that far in advance. We conclude that failures during the panic reflected relative weakness in the face of common asset value shock rather than contagion. Other evidence points to cooperation among solvent Chicago banks a key factor in avoiding unwarranted bank failures during the panic.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in its series Proceedings with number 451.
Date of creation: 1995
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Conference on Bank Structure and Competition (1995 : 31st)
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Other versions of this item:
- Calomiris, Charles W & Mason, Joseph R, 1997. "Contagion and Bank Failures during the Great Depression: The June 1932 Chicago Banking Panic," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 863-83, December.
- Charles W. Calomiris & Joseph R. Mason, 1994. "Contagion and Bank Failures During the Great Depression: The June 1932 Chicago Banking Panic," NBER Working Papers 4934, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Calomiris, Charles W. & Schweikart, Larry, 1991. "The Panic of 1857: Origins, Transmission, and Containment," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(04), pages 807-834, December.
- Kiefer, Nicholas M, 1988. "Economic Duration Data and Hazard Functions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(2), pages 646-79, June.
- Charles W. Calomiris & Gary Gorton, 1991.
"The Origins of Banking Panics: Models, Facts, and Bank Regulation,"
in: Financial Markets and Financial Crises, pages 109-174
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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