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Bank Panics and the Endogeneity of Central Banking

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  • Gary Gorton
  • Lixin Huang

Abstract

Central banking is intimately related to liquidity provision to banks during times of crisis, the lender-of-last-resort function. This activity arose endogenously in certain banking systems. Depositors lack full information about the value of bank assets so that during macroeconomic downturns they monitor their banks by withdrawing in a banking panic. The likelihood of panics depends on the industrial organization of the banking system. Banking systems with many small, undiversified banks, are prone to panics and failures, unlike systems with a few big banks that are heavily branched and well diversified. Systems of many small banks are more efficient if the banks form coalitions during times of crisis. We provide conditions under which the industrial organization of banking leads to incentive compatible state contingent bank coalition formation. Such coalitions issue money that is a kind of deposit insurance and examine and supervise banks. Bank coalitions of small banks, however, cannot replicate the efficiency of a system of big banks.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9102.

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Date of creation: Aug 2002
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9102

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  1. Gary Gorton & Lixin Huang, 2001. "Banking Prices and the Origin of Central Banking," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 02-31, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
  2. Michael D. Bordo & Angela Redish, 1988. "Why did the Bank of Canada Emerge in 1935?," NBER Working Papers 2079, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Gary Gorton & Andrew Winton, 2002. "Financial Intermediation," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 02-28, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
  4. Charles W. Calomiris & Charles M. Kahn, 1996. "The efficiency of self-regulated payments systems: learning from the Suffolk System," Proceedings, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), pages 766-803.
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  8. Arthur J. Rolnick & Bruce D. Smith & Warren E. Weber, 1998. "Lessons from a laissez-faire payments system: the Suffolk Banking System, 1825-58," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 105-116.
  9. 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.
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  11. Beck, Thorsten, 2002. "Deposit insurance as private club: is Germany a model?," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 701-719.
  12. Bordo, Michael D. & Rockoff, Hugh & Redish, Angela, 1994. "The U.S. Banking System From a Northern Exposure: Stability versus Efficiency," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(02), pages 325-341, June.
  13. Gary Gorton & Lixin Huang, 2002. "Banking Panics and the Origin of Central Banking," NBER Working Papers 9137, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. 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.
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  19. Donald P. Morgan, 2002. "Rating Banks: Risk and Uncertainty in an Opaque Industry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 874-888, September.
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