IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/cup/jechis/v72y2012i01p1-43_00.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

London Merchant Banks, the Central European Panic, and the Sterling Crisis of 1931

Author

Listed:
  • ACCOMINOTTI, OLIVIER

Abstract

The Central European panic of the spring 1931 is often presented as a cause of the sterling crisis of September. But what was the transmission channel? This article explores how the continent's financial troubles affected Britain's banking system. The freeze of Central European assets created a liquidity strain for London merchant banks because they had accepted (guaranteed) the commercial bills of German merchants. I use new balance sheet data to quantify this shock and explore how the liquidity crisis contributed to the sterling crisis. The evidence demonstrates that international contagion was crucial in transmitting the 1931 global financial crisis.

Suggested Citation

  • 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(1), pages 1-43, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:72:y:2012:i:01:p:1-43_00
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.cambridge.org/core/product/identifier/S0022050711002427/type/journal_article
    File Function: link to article abstract page
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Isabel Schnabel & Hyun Song Shin, 2004. "Liquidity and Contagion: The Crisis of 1763," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(6), pages 929-968, December.
    2. Carmen M. Reinhart & Graciela L. Kaminsky, 1999. "The Twin Crises: The Causes of Banking and Balance-of-Payments Problems," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 473-500, June.
    3. 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.
    4. Carmen M. Reinhart & Graciela L. Kaminsky, 1999. "The Twin Crises: The Causes of Banking and Balance-of-Payments Problems," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 473-500, June.
    5. Burk, Kathleen, 1989. "Morgan Grenfell 1838-1988: The Biography of a Merchant Bank," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198283065.
    6. Schnabel, Isabel, 2004. "The German Twin Crisis of 1931," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 64(3), pages 822-871, September.
    7. Eichengreen, Barry & Sachs, Jeffrey, 1985. "Exchange Rates and Economic Recovery in the 1930s," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 45(4), pages 925-946, December.
    8. Guinnane, Timothy W., 2004. "Financial Vergangenheitsbewaltigung: The 1953 London Debt Agreement," Center Discussion Papers 28387, Yale University, Economic Growth Center.
    9. Milton Friedman & Anna J. Schwartz, 1963. "A Monetary History of the United States, 1867–1960," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie63-1, May.
    10. Chang, Roberto & Velasco, Andres, 2000. "Financial Fragility and the Exchange Rate Regime," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 1-34, May.
    11. Eichengreen, Barry, 1996. "Golden Fetters: The Gold Standard and the Great Depression, 1919-1939," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195101133.
    12. 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(2), pages 446-465, June.
    13. Accominotti, Olivier, 2009. "The sterling trap: foreign reserves management at the Bank of France, 1928–1936," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(3), pages 349-376, December.
    14. Peter Temin, 1993. "Transmission of the Great Depression," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 87-102, Spring.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Richardson, Gary & Van Horn, Patrick, 2018. "In the eye of a Storm: Manhattan's money center banks during the international financial crisis of 1931," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 71-94.
    2. Olivier Accominotti, 2019. "International banking and transmission of the 1931 financial crisis," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 72(1), pages 260-285, February.
    3. Maurice Obstfeld & Alan M. Taylor, 2017. "International Monetary Relations: Taking Finance Seriously," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 31(3), pages 3-28, Summer.
    4. Nicholas Crafts & Peter Fearon, 2010. "Lessons from the 1930s Great Depression," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(3), pages 285-317, Autumn.
    5. Brunnermeier, Markus K. & Oehmke, Martin, 2013. "Bubbles, Financial Crises, and Systemic Risk," Handbook of the Economics of Finance, in: G.M. Constantinides & M. Harris & R. M. Stulz (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Finance, volume 2, chapter 0, pages 1221-1288, Elsevier.
    6. Albrecht Ritschl, 2012. "War 2008 das neue 1929? Richtige und falsche Vergleiche zwischen der Großen Depression der 1930er Jahre und der Großen Rezession von 2008," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 13, pages 36-57, May.
    7. 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.
    8. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2014. "A Decade of Debt," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series, in: Miguel Fuentes D. & Claudio E. Raddatz & Carmen M. Reinhart (ed.),Capital Mobility and Monetary Policy, edition 1, volume 18, chapter 4, pages 97-135, Central Bank of Chile.
    9. Karau, Sören, 2020. "Buried in the vaults of central banks: Monetary gold hoarding and the slide into the Great Depression," Discussion Papers 63/2020, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    10. Nina Dodig & Hansjorg Herr, 2014. "Previous financial crises leading to stagnation – selected case studies," Working papers wpaper24, Financialisation, Economy, Society & Sustainable Development (FESSUD) Project.
    11. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2011. "From Financial Crash to Debt Crisis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 1676-1706, August.
    12. Albers, Thilo & Uebele, Martin, 2015. "The global impact of the great depression," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 64491, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    13. Wang, Wen-Yao & Hernandez-Verme, Paula, 2009. "Multiple Reserve Requirements, Exchange Rates, Sudden Stops and Equilibrium Dynamics in a Small Open Economy," MPRA Paper 13802, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Mervyn Allister King, 1993. "Debt Deflation: Theory and Evidence," FMG Discussion Papers dp175, Financial Markets Group.
    15. 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).
    16. Allen, Franklin & Gale, Douglas, 2000. "Optimal currency crises," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 177-230, December.
    17. Khan, Haider, 2013. "Global Financial Governance: Towards a New Global Financial Architecture for Averting Deep Financial Crises," MPRA Paper 49275, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Fratianni, Michele & Giri, Federico, 2017. "The tale of two great crises," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 5-31.
    19. Preslava Kovatchevska, 2000. "The Banking and Currency Crises in Bulgaria: 1996 - 1997," CASE Network Studies and Analyses 0204, CASE-Center for Social and Economic Research.
    20. Robert-Paul Berben & Jan Marc Berk, 2002. "Requirements for successful currency regimes: the Dutch and Thai experiences," MEB Series (discontinued) 2002-16, Netherlands Central Bank, Monetary and Economic Policy Department.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:72:y:2012:i:01:p:1-43_00. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://www.cambridge.org/jeh .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Keith Waters (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://www.cambridge.org/jeh .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.