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Intensified Regulatory Scrutiny and Bank Distress in New York City During the Great Depression


  • Richardson, Gary
  • Van Horn, Patrick


New data reveals that bank distress peaked in New York City, at the center of the United States money market, in July and August 1931, when the banking crisis peaked in Germany and before Britain abandoned the gold standard. This paper tests competing theories about the causes of New York's banking crisis. The cause appears to have been intensified regulatory scrutiny, which was a delayed reaction to the failure of the Bank of United States, rather than the exposure of money-center banks to events overseas.
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Suggested Citation

  • Richardson, Gary & Van Horn, Patrick, 2009. "Intensified Regulatory Scrutiny and Bank Distress in New York City During the Great Depression," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 69(02), pages 446-465, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:69:y:2009:i:02:p:446-465_00

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Albrecht Ritschl & Samad Sarferaz, 2014. "Currency Versus Banking In The Financial Crisis Of 1931," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 55, pages 349-373, May.
    2. Peter Temin, 1991. "Lessons from the Great Depression," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262700441, July.
    3. Richardson, Gary, 2006. "Records of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in Record Group 82 at the National Archives of the United States," Financial History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(01), pages 123-134, April.
    4. Gary Richardson, 2006. "Quarterly Data on the Categories and Causes of Bank Distress During the Great Depression," NBER Working Papers 12715, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Christoffer Koch & Gary Richardson & Patrick Van Horn, 2016. "Bank Leverage and Regulatory Regimes: Evidence from the Great Depression and Great Recession," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(5), pages 538-542, May.
    2. Price Fishback, 2010. "US monetary and fiscal policy in the 1930s," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(3), pages 385-413, Autumn.
    3. Accominotti, Olivier, 2012. "London Merchant Banks, the Central European Panic, and the Sterling Crisis of 1931," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 72(01), pages 1-43, March.
    4. Mark Billings & Forrest Capie, 2011. "Financial crisis, contagion, and the British banking system between the world wars," Business History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 53(2), pages 193-215.
    5. Ritschl, Albrecht & Sarferaz, Samad, 2009. "Crisis? What Crisis? Currency vs. Banking in the Financial Crisis of 1931," CEPR Discussion Papers 7610, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Accominotti, Olivier, 2016. "International Banking and Transmission of the 1931 Financial Crisis," CEPR Discussion Papers 11651, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Gary Richardson & Patrick Van Horn, 2011. "In the Eye of a Storm: Manhattan's Money Center Banks During the International Financial Crisis of 1931," NBER Working Papers 17437, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Hetzel, Robert L. & Richardson, Gary, 2016. "Money, Banking, and Monetary Policy from the Formation of the Federal Reserve until Today," Working Paper 16-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E42 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Monetary Sytsems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • N1 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations
    • N12 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-


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