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Do Economists Reach a Conclusion on Free-Banking Episodes?

  • Ignacio Briones
  • Hugh Rockoff

How should banks be regulated? Must governments tightly regulate banks to prevent financial panics, or is little or no regulation best? Can private banks be trusted to issue paper money or must this activity be a government monopoly? Theory can help answer these questions, but increasingly in recent years economists have turned to the natural experiments of history to find out how well free banking systems, or more accurately lightly regulated banking systems, have worked in practice. We now have numerous studies of lightly regulated banking in Scotland, the United States, Canada, and many other countries. As usual, research has produced new questions and heated controversies. The resulting ruckus tends to obscure the areas in which research has produced a consensus. Here we try to separate the areas where there is a consensus from areas where research is still in its early stages.

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Article provided by Econ Journal Watch in its journal Econ Journal Watch.

Volume (Year): 2 (2005)
Issue (Month): 2 (August)
Pages: 279-324

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Handle: RePEc:ejw:journl:v:2:y:2005:i:2:p:279-324
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  1. Bray Hammond, 1936. "Free Banks and Corporations: The New York Free Banking Act of 1838," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44, pages 184.
  2. Milton Friedman & Anna Jacobson Schwartz, 1970. "Introduction to "Monetary Statistics of the United States: Estimates, Sources, Methods"," NBER Chapters, in: Monetary Statistics of the United States: Estimates, Sources, Methods, pages 1-85 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Calomiris, Charles W & Kahn, Charles M, 1996. "The Efficiency of Self-Regulated Payments Systems: Learning from the Suffolk System," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 28(4), pages 766-97, November.
  4. Carr, Jack L & Mathewson, G Frank, 1988. "Unlimited Liability as a Barrier to Entry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(4), pages 766-84, August.
  5. Sheila C Dow, 1995. "Why the Banking System Should be Regulated," Working Papers Series 95/15, University of Stirling, Division of Economics.
  6. Gherity, James A, 1995. "The Option Clause in Scottish Banking, 1730-65: A Reappraisal," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(3), pages 713-26, August.
  7. Hickson, Charles R. & Turner, John D., 2002. "Free banking gone awry: the Australian banking crisis of 1893," Financial History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(02), pages 147-167, October.
  8. Economopoulos, Andrew J, 1988. "Illinois Free Banking Experience," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 20(2), pages 249-64, May.
  9. H. Hamilton, 1953. "Scotland'S Balance Of Payments Problem In 1762," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 5(3), pages 344-357, 04.
  10. Dow, Sheila C & Smithin, John, 1992. "Free Banking in Scotland, 1695-1845," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 39(4), pages 374-90, November.
  11. Cowen, Tyler & Kroszner, Randall, 1989. "Scottish Banking before 1845: A Model for Laissez-Faire?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 21(2), pages 221-31, May.
  12. Bodenhorn, Howard, 1990. "Entry, Rivalry and Free Banking in Antebellum America," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(4), pages 682-86, November.
  13. Calomiris, Charles W. & Schweikart, Larry, 1991. "The Panic of 1857: Origins, Transmission, and Containment," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(04), pages 807-834, December.
  14. Gorton, Gary, 1985. "Clearinghouses and the Origin of Central Banking in the United States," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 45(02), pages 277-283, June.
  15. Glasner,David, 1989. "Free Banking and Monetary Reform," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521361750, Junio.
  16. James, John A., 1976. "The Development of the National Money Market, 1893-1911," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 36(04), pages 878-897, December.
  17. Chu, Kam Hon, 1999. "Free Banking and Information Asymmetry," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 31(4), pages 748-62, November.
  18. Carr, Jack & Glied, Sherry & Mathewson, Frank, 1989. "Unlimited Liability and Free Banking in Scotland: A Note," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(04), pages 974-978, December.
  19. Michael J. Haupert, 1994. "New York Free Banks and the Role of Reputations," The American Economist, Omicron Delta Epsilon, vol. 38(2), pages 66-77, October.
  20. Michael D. Bordo & Angela Redish, 1986. "Why did the Bank of Canada Emerge in 1935?," NBER Working Papers 2079, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Milton Friedman & Anna Jacobson Schwartz, 1970. "Monetary Statistics of the United States: Estimates, Sources, Methods," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie70-1, September.
  22. Fama, Eugene F., 1983. "Financial intermediation and price level control," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 7-28.
  23. Gorton, Gary & Mullineaux, Donald J, 1987. "The Joint Production of Confidence: Endogenous Regulation and Nineteenth Century Commercial-Bank Clearinghouses," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 19(4), pages 457-68, November.
  24. Bodenhorn, Howard & Haupert, Michael, 1995. "Was There a Note Issue Conundrum in the Free Banking Era?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(3), pages 702-12, August.
  25. Hasan, Iftekhar & Dwyer, Gerald P, Jr, 1994. "Bank Runs in the Free Banking Period," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 26(2), pages 271-88, May.
  26. Charles Goodhart, 1988. "The Evolution of Central Banks," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262570734, March.
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