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Historical reflections on the causes of financial crises: Official investigations, past and present, 1873–2011

Listed author(s):
  • Carlos Marichal

    (Centro de Estudios Históricos, El Colegio de México, México, D. F., Mexico)

In the present essay we review a set of enquiries and reports that were realized and published as a result of the major financial crises of the past and of the contemporary era. Generally these documents not only address the issue of the causes of collapse of bank and capital markets but also shed light on regulations proposed at different points in time to improve financial stability. We begin with reference to extensive hearings published by the British Parliament following what may be termed the first global financial crisis in 1873 and, then, proceed to a discussion of official reports on the crises of 1907, 1929 and above all that of 2008, which has produced the greatest outpouring of these types of publications. It is our hypothesis that one important avenue for a historical understanding of the great financial debacles of the past consists in a careful evaluation of official literature and documents that can complement the theoretical approaches of economists in search of explanations for these events. KEY Classification-JEL: N20

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Article provided by Asociacion Espa–ola de Historia Economica in its journal Investigaciones de Historia Económica (IHE) Journal of the Spanish Economic History Association.

Volume (Year): 10 (2014)
Issue (Month): 02 ()
Pages: 81-91

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Handle: RePEc:ahe:invest:v:10:y:2014:i:02:p:81-91
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  1. Bordo, Michael D. & Rockoff, Hugh, 1996. "The Gold Standard as a “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval”," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 56(02), pages 389-428, June.
  2. Tarullo, Daniel, 2008. "Banking on Basel: The Future of International Financial Regulation," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 4235, November.
  3. Alessio Moro & Galo Nuño & Pedro Tedde, 2015. "A twin crisis with multiple banks of issue. Spain in the 1860s," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(2), pages 171-194.
  4. Vizcarra, Catalina, 2009. "Guano, Credible Commitments, and Sovereign Debt Repayment in Nineteenth-Century Peru," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 69(02), pages 358-387, June.
  5. Michael D. Bordo & Anna J. Schwartz, 1984. "A Retrospective on the Classical Gold Standard, 1821-1931," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bord84-1, December.
  6. Flandreau, Marc, 2012. "The vanishing banker," Financial History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 19(01), pages 1-19, April.
  7. Flores, Juan-Huitzi & Flandreau, Marc, 2007. "Bonds and Brands : intermediaries and reputation in sovereign debt markets 1820-1830," IFCS - Working Papers in Economic History.WH wp07-12, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Figuerola.
  8. Musson, A. E., 1959. "The Great Depression in Britain, 1873–1896: a Reappraisal," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 19(02), pages 199-228, June.
  9. Anna J. Schwartz, 1984. "Introduction to "A Retrospective on the Classical Gold Standard, 1821-1931"," NBER Chapters,in: A Retrospective on the Classical Gold Standard, 1821-1931, pages 1-22 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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