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Regulation and Bank Failures: New Evidence from the Agricultural Collapse of the 1920s

  • Wheelock, David C.

This article examines the contribution of government policies to the high number of bank failures in the United States during the l920s. I consider the state of Kansas, which had a system of voluntary deposit insurance and where branch banking was strictly prohibited, and find that bank failure rates were highest in counties suffering the greatest agricultural distress and where deposit insurance system membership was the highest. The evidence for Kansas illustrates how prohibitions on branch banking caused unit banks to be especially susceptible to local economic shocks, and suggests that, despite regulations to limit risktaking, deposit insurance caused more bank failures than would have occurred otherwise.

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Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal The Journal of Economic History.

Volume (Year): 52 (1992)
Issue (Month): 04 (December)
Pages: 806-825

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Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:52:y:1992:i:04:p:806-825_01
Contact details of provider: Postal: Cambridge University Press, UPH, Shaftesbury Road, Cambridge CB2 8BS UK
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  1. Kareken, John H & Wallace, Neil, 1978. "Deposit Insurance and Bank Regulation: A Partial-Equilibrium Exposition," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(3), pages 413-38, July.
  2. Wheelock, David C & Kumbhakar, Subal C, 1995. "Which Banks Choose Deposit Insurance? Evidence of Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard in a Voluntary Insurance System," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(1), pages 186-201, February.
  3. Wheelock, David C, 1992. "Deposit Insurance and Bank Failures: New Evidence from the 1920s," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 30(3), pages 530-43, July.
  4. Frederick T. Furlong & Michael C. Keeley, 1991. "Capital regulation and bank risk-taking: a note (reprinted from Journal of Banking and Finance)," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Sum, pages 34-39.
  5. Alston Lee J. & Grove Wayne A. & Wheelock David C., 1994. "Why Do Banks Fail? Evidence from the 1920s," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 409-431, October.
  6. Alston, Lee J., 1983. "Farm Foreclosures in the United States During the Interwar Period," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 43(04), pages 885-903, December.
  7. Charles W. Calomiris, 1989. "Deposit insurance: lessons from the record," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue May, pages 10-30.
  8. White, Eugene Nelson, 1984. "A Reinterpretation of the Banking Crisis of 1930," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 44(01), pages 119-138, March.
  9. White, Eugene Nelson, 1985. "The Merger Movement in Banking, 1919–1933," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 45(02), pages 285-291, June.
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