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(01), 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: http://journals.cambridge.org/abstract_S0022050711002427
    File Function: link to article abstract page
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Eichengreen, Barry, 1996. "Golden Fetters: The Gold Standard and the Great Depression, 1919-1939," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195101133.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Chang, Roberto & Velasco, Andres, 2000. "Financial Fragility and the Exchange Rate Regime," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 1-34, May.
    6. 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.
    7. Burk, Kathleen, 1989. "Morgan Grenfell 1838-1988: The Biography of a Merchant Bank," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198283065.
    8. 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(03), pages 349-376, December.
    9. Schnabel, Isabel, 2004. "The German Twin Crisis of 1931," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 64(03), pages 822-871, September.
    10. Eichengreen, Barry & Sachs, Jeffrey, 1985. "Exchange Rates and Economic Recovery in the 1930s," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 45(04), pages 925-946, December.
    11. Peter Temin, 1993. "Transmission of the Great Depression," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 87-102, Spring.
    12. Timothy W. Guinnane, 2004. "Financial Vergangenheitsbewältigung: The 1953 London Debt Agreement," Working Papers 880, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
    13. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Allen, William A. & Moessner, Richhild, 2012. "The international propagation of the financial crisis of 2008 and a comparison with 1931," Financial History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 19(02), pages 123-147, August.
    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. Borio, Claudio & James, Harold & Shin, Hyun Song, 2014. "The international monetary and financial system: a capital account perspective," Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper 204, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
    5. Marc Flandreau & Stefano Ugolini, 2014. "The Crisis of 1866," Post-Print hal-01293925, HAL.
    6. Raphaël Hekimian, 2017. "The French banking sector during the interwar: What lessons can be drawn from the stock market?," EconomiX Working Papers 2017-3, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.
    7. Kris James Mitchener & Gary Richardson, 2016. "Network Contagion and Interbank Amplification during the Great Depression," NBER Working Papers 22074, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Stefano Ugolini, 2011. "Foreign exchange reserve management in the 19th century: The National Bank of Belgium in the 1850s," Working Paper 2011/07, Norges Bank.
    9. Accominotti, Olivier & Chambers, David, 2014. "Out-of-Sample Evidence on the Returns to Currency Trading," CEPR Discussion Papers 9852, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. 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.
    11. Claudio Borio & Harold James & Hyun Song Shin, 2014. "The international monetary and financial system: a capital account historical perspective," BIS Working Papers 457, Bank for International Settlements.
    12. Nicholas Crafts, 2014. "What Does the 1930s' Experience Tell Us about the Future of the Eurozone?," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(4), pages 713-727, July.
    13. Calomiris, Charles W. & Flandreau, Marc & Laeven, Luc, 2016. "Political foundations of the lender of last resort: A global historical narrative," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 48-65.
    14. Accominotti, Olivier, 2016. "International Banking and Transmission of the 1931 Financial Crisis," CEPR Discussion Papers 11651, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    15. 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.
    16. Michael D. Bordo & Pierre Siklos, 2017. "Central Banks: Evolution and Innovation in Historical Perspective," Economics Working Papers 17105, Hoover Institution, Stanford University.
    17. Matthias Morys, 2014. "Gold Standard Lessons for the Eurozone," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(4), pages 728-741, July.
    18. Papadia, Andrea, 2017. "Sovereign defaults during the Great Depression: the role of fiscal fragility," Economic History Working Papers 68943, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
    19. 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.

    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: (Keith Waters). General contact details of provider: http://journals.cambridge.org/jid_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 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.

    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.