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Lessons from the American Experience with Free Banking

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  • Hugh Rockoff

Abstract

There has been considerable interest in recent years in historical experiments with "free banking." This paper examines once again the American experiments in the decades before the Civil War, and the recent literature on them. The lessons of this experience for four issues are considered: (1) the appropriate mechanism for controlling the monetary base, (2) the need for a lender of last resort, (3) the costs and benefits of a bank issued currency, and (4) the potential under a regime of free banking for wildcat banking.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/h0009.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Historical Working Papers with number 0009.

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Date of creation: Dec 1989
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Publication status: published as In Unregulated Banking: Chaos or Order? eds. Forrest Caprie and Geoffrey Wood. London: MacMillan Academic and Professional, Ltd., 1991.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberhi:0009

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  1. Kahn, James A, 1985. "Another Look at Free Banking in the United States [New Evidence on the Free Banking Era]," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 881-85, September.
  2. Economopoulos, Andrew J, 1988. "Illinois Free Banking Experience," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 20(2), pages 249-64, May.
  3. Rolnick, Arthur J & Weber, Warren E, 1983. "New Evidence on the Free Banking Era," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 1080-91, December.
  4. Rockoff, Hugh, 1974. "The Free Banking Era: A Reexamination," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 6(2), pages 141-67, May.
  5. Cowen, Tyler & Kroszner, Randall, 1987. "The Development of the New Monetary Economics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 567-90, June.
  6. King, Robert G., 1983. "On the economics of private money," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 127-158.
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Cited by:
  1. Gorton, Gary, 1999. "Pricing free bank notes," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 33-64, August.

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