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Wall Street's First Corporate Governance Crisis: The Panic of 1826

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  • Eric Hilt

Abstract

In July of 1826, several prominent Wall Street firms abruptly went bankrupt, amid scandalous revelations of fraudulent financial practices by their management. Although mostly forgotten today, these events represented a watershed in the early development of the corporation laws and investor protections governing Wall Street: in the aftermath of the scandals, New York State enacted an extensive package of legislation designed to protect the interests of investors. These statutes were some of the the very first of their kind, and had a lasting influence. This paper analyzes the causes of the failures, and the evolution of the law in response. The analysis highlights the critical role played by scandal-driven legislation in the evolution of investor protections and financial regulations.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14892.

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Date of creation: Apr 2009
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14892

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  1. Gary Gorton, 2008. "The Panic of 2007," Yale School of Management Working Papers amz2372, Yale School of Management.
  2. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-De-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 1999. "Corporate Ownership Around the World," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(2), pages 471-517, 04.
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  7. Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & La Porta, Rafael & Shleifer, Andrei, 2008. "The Economic Consequences of Legal Origins," Scholarly Articles 2962610, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. Nicola Gennaioli & Andrei Shleifer, 2007. "The Evolution of Common Law," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 43-68.
  9. Larry Neal, 1998. "The financial crisis of 1825 and the restructuring of the British financial system," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 53-76.
  10. Eric Hilt, 2007. "When did Ownership Separate from Control? Corporate Governance in the Early Nineteenth Century," NBER Working Papers 13093, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Ellis W. Tallman & Jon R. Moen, 1990. "Lessons from the panic of 1907," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, issue May, pages 2-13.
  12. Knodell, Jane, 2006. "Rethinking the Jacksonian Economy: The Impact of the 1832 Bank Veto on Commercial Banking," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 66(03), pages 541-574, September.
  13. Gorton, Gary B., 2008. "The panic of 2007," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 131-262.
  14. Giacomo A. M. Ponzetto & Patricio A. Fernandez, 2008. "Case Law versus Statute Law: An Evolutionary Comparison," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(2), pages 379-430, 06.
  15. Musacchio, Aldo, 2008. "Can Civil Law Countries Get Good Institutions? Lessons from the History of Creditor Rights and Bond Markets in Brazil," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 68(01), pages 80-108, March.
  16. Kerry A. Odell & Marc D. Weidenmier, 2002. "Real Shock, Monetary Aftershock: The San Francisco Earthquake and the Panic of 1907," NBER Working Papers 9176, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Takeo Hoshi & Anil K. Kashyap, 2004. "Japan's Financial Crisis and Economic Stagnation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 3-26, Winter.
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Cited by:
  1. Alexander Muravyev, 2009. "Investor Protection and Share Prices: Evidence from Statutory Rules Governing Variations of Shareholders' Class Rights in Russia," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 865, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  2. Howard Bodenhorn & Eugene N. White, 2014. "The Evolution of Bank Boards of Directors in New York, 1840-1950," NBER Working Papers 20078, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Muravyev, Alexander, 2009. "Investor Protection and the Value of Shares: Evidence from Statutory Rules Governing Variations of Shareholders' Class Rights in Russia," IZA Discussion Papers 4669, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Charles W. Calomiris, 2009. "Banking Crises and the Rules of the Game," Working Papers 2009/14, Czech National Bank, Research Department.
  5. Berezinets, Irina & Ilina, Yulia & Muravyev, Alexander, 2011. "CEO and Board Characteristics as Determinants of Private Benefits of Control: Evidence from the Russian Stock Exchange," IZA Discussion Papers 6256, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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