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Federal Policy, Banking Market Structure, and Capital Mobilization in the United States, 1863–1913


  • Sylla, Richard


The success with which capital funds are mobilized and transferred to industrial and related activities is widely regarded as a critical determinant of both the timing and the pace of industrialization in the modern era. Gerschenkron, for example, has suggested that institutional developments which increased this type of capital mobility played an important role in the varying degrees of industrial progress of nineteenth-century European countries. A functionally similar development, resulting from government intervention at the time of the Civil War, occurred in American banking and provided a powerful capital-supply stimulus for the United States's postbellum industrialization. This study deals with the origins of this banking development, presents an analysis of its potential effects on patterns of capital movement, and tests the hypotheses arrived at in the theoretical analysis using banking data derived primarily from the Reports of the Comptroller of the Currency.

Suggested Citation

  • Sylla, Richard, 1969. "Federal Policy, Banking Market Structure, and Capital Mobilization in the United States, 1863–1913," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 29(4), pages 657-686, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:29:y:1969:i:04:p:657-686_07

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