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Policing the chain gang: Panel cointegration analysis of the stability of the Suffolk System, 1825–1858

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  • Young, Andrew T.
  • Dove, John A.

Abstract

Conventional monetary theory suggests that a closed system banking regime may lead to in-concert overexpansions of circulation by its banks. However, Selgin (2001, 2010) argues that this is unlikely as long as there are enough banks to ensure (i) routine interbank settlement and (ii) no collusion amongst banks refraining from redeeming one another’s notes. Banks effectively form a “chain gang” where in-concert expansion requires coordination that is prohibitively costly in a system with many banks. In order to test this conjecture, we examine state-level data on circulations and reserves from the Suffolk Banking System (1825–1858) in New England. In addition to narrative evidence on the stability of the Suffolk, panel cointegration tests provide evidence of a long-run relationship between state-level circulations and total reserves. The estimated error-correction mechanisms suggest a deviation half-life of about 2years. We argue that a cointegrating relationship between circulations and reserves, along with rapid error-correction, supports the Selgin hypothesis.

Suggested Citation

  • Young, Andrew T. & Dove, John A., 2013. "Policing the chain gang: Panel cointegration analysis of the stability of the Suffolk System, 1825–1858," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 182-196.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jmacro:v:37:y:2013:i:c:p:182-196
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jmacro.2013.05.003
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    Cited by:

    1. Mathias Klein, 2015. "Inequality and household debt: a panel cointegration analysis," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 42(2), pages 391-412, May.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    American free banking; Suffolk System; Panel data; Cointegration; Error-correction; History of banking; Adverse clearings;

    JEL classification:

    • C33 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • E42 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Monetary Sytsems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System
    • E51 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Money Supply; Credit; Money Multipliers
    • N11 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913

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