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Was the Bank Holiday of 1933 Caused by a Run on the Dollar?

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  • Wigmore, Barrie A.

Abstract

International, rather than domestic, causes of both the Bank Holiday of 1933 and the calm in the banking system that followed are emphasized here. New information on gold losses by the New York Federal Reserve, rather than domestic currency hoarding, serve to explain the Bank Holiday's specific timing. Expectations that Roosevelt would devalue the dollar stimulated much of the gold loss. I also argue that Roosevelt's restrictions on gold holdings and foreign exchange dealings and his devaluation of the dollar by 60 percent were more important to the stability of the banking system after the Bank Holiday than was deposit insurance.

Suggested Citation

  • Wigmore, Barrie A., 1987. "Was the Bank Holiday of 1933 Caused by a Run on the Dollar?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 47(3), pages 739-755, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:47:y:1987:i:03:p:739-755_04
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    Cited by:

    1. Jeffrey D. Sachs & Aaron Tornell & Andrés Velasco, 1996. "Financial Crises in Emerging Markets: The Lessons from 1995," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 27(1), pages 147-216.
    2. Barry Eichengreen & Arnaud J. Mehl & Livia Chițu & Gary Richardson, 2014. "Mutual Assistance between Federal Reserve Banks, 1913-1960 as Prolegomena to the TARGET2 Debate," NBER Working Papers 20267, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Bougheas, Spiros, 1999. "Contagious bank runs," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 131-146, June.
    4. Charles, Amélie & Darné, Olivier, 2014. "Large shocks in the volatility of the Dow Jones Industrial Average index: 1928–2013," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 188-199.
    5. Barry Eichengreen, 1998. "Exchange Rate Stability and Financial Stability," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 569-608, January.
    6. Sebastian Edwards, 2017. "The London Monetary and Economic Conference of 1933 and the End of the Great Depression," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 28(3), pages 431-459, July.
    7. Hallwood, C. Paul & MacDonald, Ronald & Marsh, Ian W., 1997. "Crash! Expectational Aspects of the Departures of the United Kingdom and the United States from the Inter-War Gold Standard," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 174-194, April.
    8. Dooley, Michael P, 2000. "A Model of Crises in Emerging Markets," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(460), pages 256-272, January.
    9. Bordo, Michael D. & Schwartz, Anna J., 1999. "Monetary policy regimes and economic performance: The historical record," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 3, pages 149-234, Elsevier.
    10. Ben Bemanke & Harold James, 1991. "The Gold Standard, Deflation, and Financial Crisis in the Great Depression: An International Comparison," NBER Chapters, in: Financial Markets and Financial Crises, pages 33-68, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. William L. Silber, 2009. "Why did FDR's bank holiday succeed?," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 15(Jul), pages 19-30.
    12. Natalia V. Koshel, 2018. "More than Supervision: Identifying Opportunistic Bank Behavior through Marketing Tools," European Research Studies Journal, European Research Studies Journal, vol. 0(Special 2), pages 144-157.
    13. Barry Eichengreen, 2013. "Does the Federal Reserve Care about the Rest of the World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 27(4), pages 87-104, Fall.
    14. Sebastian Edwards, 2017. "The London Monetary and Economic Conference of 1933 and the End of The Great Depression: A “Change of Regime” Analysis," NBER Working Papers 23204, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Michael D. Bordo, 1989. "The Contribution of "A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960" to Monetary History," NBER Chapters, in: Money, History, and International Finance: Essays in Honor of Anna J. Schwartz, pages 15-78, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Charles W. Calomiris & Eugene N. White, 1994. "The Origins of Federal Deposit Insurance," NBER Chapters, in: The Regulated Economy: A Historical Approach to Political Economy, pages 145-188, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Sebastian Edwards, 2015. "Academics as Economic Advisers: Gold, the ‘Brains Trust,’ and FDR," NBER Working Papers 21380, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Edwards, Sebastian, 2020. "Change of monetary regime, contracts, and prices: Lessons from the great depression, 1932–1935," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 108(C).
    19. Sebastian Edwards, 2018. "Finding equilibrium: on the relation between exchange rates and monetary policy," BIS Papers chapters, in: Bank for International Settlements (ed.), The price, real and financial effects of exchange rates, volume 96, pages 81-107, Bank for International Settlements.
    20. Gabriel P. Mathy, 2020. "How much did uncertainty shocks matter in the Great Depression?," Cliometrica, Springer;Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie), vol. 14(2), pages 283-323, May.
    21. Taylor, Jason E. & Neumann, Todd C., 2013. "The effect of institutional regime change within the new deal on industrial output and labor markets," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 582-598.
    22. George Selgin, 2014. "Operation Twist-the-Truth: How the Federal Reserve Misrepresents Its History and Performance," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 34(2), pages 229-263, Spring/Su.

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