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A Comparison of the Stability and Efficiency of the Canadian and American Banking Systems 1870-1925

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  • Michael D. Bordo
  • Angela Redish

Abstract

In this paper we compare the performance of the U.S. and Canadian banking systems from 1870-1925 in terms of stability and efficiency. In an earlier study we found that the Canadian banking system, based on nationwide branch banking, dominated the U.S. system, based on unit banking, on both criteria in the period 1920-1980. In this study we find that there is little significant difference between the two systems in the preceding 50 years. The difference between the two periods we attribute to the merger movement in Canada after 1900 which allowed the Canadian banking system to evolve from a system with incomplete regional diversification, and hence subject to a significant risk of an occasional failure by a large bank, to one characterized by national diversification and greater stability. The greater stability in turn allowed the financial structure of the banking system to evolve in a more efficient direction.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Historical Working Papers with number 0067.

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Date of creation: Nov 1996
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Publication status: published as Anglo-American Financial Systems: Institutions and Markets in the Twentieth Century. Irwin One Publishers, 1995.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberhi:0067

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  1. Timberlake, Richard H, Jr, 1984. "The Central Banking Role of Clearinghouse Associations," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 16(1), pages 1-15, February.
  2. Balke, Nathan S & Gordon, Robert J, 1989. "The Estimation of Prewar Gross National Product: Methodology and New Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(1), pages 38-92, February.
  3. Calomiris, Charles W., 1990. "Is Deposit Insurance Necessary? A Historical Perspective," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 50(02), pages 283-295, June.
  4. Grossman Richard S., 1993. "The Macroeconomic Consequences of Bank Failures under the National Banking System," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 294-320, July.
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Cited by:
  1. Timothy Guinnane, 2001. "Delegated Monitors, Large and Small: The Development of Germany’s Banking System, 1800-1914," CESifo Working Paper Series 565, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Michael D. Bordo & Angela Redish & Hugh Rockoff, 2011. "Why didn’t Canada have a banking crisis in 2008 (or in 1930, or 1907, or ...)?," NBER Working Papers 17312, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Selgin, George & Lastrapes, William D. & White, Lawrence H., 2012. "Has the Fed been a failure?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 569-596.
  4. Bruno Amable & Jean-Bernard Chatelain & Olivier De Bandt, 2002. "Optimal capacity in the banking sector and economic growth," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00112535, HAL.
  5. Michael D. Bordo & David C. Wheelock, 2011. "The promise and performance of the Federal Reserve as Lender of Last Resort 1914-1933," Working Paper 2011/01, Norges Bank.
  6. Amable, Bruno & Chatelain, Jean-Bernard & De Bandt, Olivier, 2002. "Optimal capacity in the banking sector and economic growth," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 26(2-3), pages 491-517, March.
  7. Dietrich, Diemo & Vollmer, Uwe, 2012. "Are universal banks bad for financial stability? Germany during the world financial crisis," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 123-134.
  8. Bordo, Michael, 1995. "Regulation and bank stability: Canada and the United States, 1870-1980," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1532, The World Bank.
  9. Timothy W. Guinnane, 2001. "Delegated Monitors, Large and Small: The Development of Germany's Banking System, 1800-1914," Working Papers 835, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  10. Hwang, Dar-Yeh & Shie, Fu-Shuen & Wang, Kehluh & Lin, Jung-Chu, 2009. "The pricing of deposit insurance considering bankruptcy costs and closure policies," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(10), pages 1909-1919, October.

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