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Asymmetric Information and Financial Crises: A Historical Perspective

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  • Frederic S. Mishkin

Abstract

This paper examines the nature of financial crises from a historical perspective using the new and burgeoning literature on asymmetric information and financial structure. After describing how this literature helps to understand the nature of financial crises, the paper focuses on a historical examination of a series of financial crises in the United States, beginning with the panic of 1857 and ending with the stock market crash of October 19,1987. The asymmetric information approach explains the patterns in the data and many features of these crises which are otherwise hard to explain. It also suggests why financial crises have had such important consequences for the aggregate economy over the past one hundred and fifty years.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3400.

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Date of creation: Jul 1990
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Publication status: published as Financial Markets and Financial Crises, edited by R. Glenn Hubbard, pp. 69- 108. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1991.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3400

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  1. Gertler, Mark, 1988. "Financial Structure and Aggregate Economic Activity: An Overview," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 20(3), pages 559-88, August.
  2. Diamond, Douglas W, 1984. "Financial Intermediation and Delegated Monitoring," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 393-414, July.
  3. N. Gregory Mankiw, 1986. "The Allocation of Credit and Financial Collapse," NBER Working Papers 1786, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Mishkin, Frederic S., 1978. "The Household Balance Sheet and the Great Depression," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 38(04), pages 918-937, December.
  5. Greenwald, Bruce & Stiglitz, Joseph E & Weiss, Andrew, 1984. "Informational Imperfections in the Capital Market and Macroeconomic Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 194-99, May.
  6. Hamilton, James D., 1987. "Monetary factors in the great depression," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 145-169, March.
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