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A contracting-theory intepretation of the origins of Federal deposit insurance

  • Edward J. Kane
  • Berry K. Wilson

Conventional wisdom holds that the enactment of federal deposit insurance helped small rural banks at the expense of large urban institutions. This paper uses asymmetric-information, agency-cost paradigms from corporate-finance theory and data on bank stock prices to show how deposit insurance could and did help stockholders of large banks. The broadening stockholder distribution of large banks during the stock-market bubble of the late 1920s undermined the efficiency of double liability provisions in controlling incentive conflict among large-bank stakeholders. Federal deposit insurance restored depositor confidence by asking government officials to take over and bond the task of monitoring managerial performance and solvency at U.S. banks.

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Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland in its journal Proceedings.

Volume (Year): (1998)
Issue (Month): Aug ()
Pages: 573-595

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedcpr:y:1998:i:aug:p:573-595
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  1. Robert C. Merton & Zvi Bodie, 1992. "On the Management of Financial Guarantees," Financial Management, Financial Management Association, vol. 21(4), Winter.
  2. Lamoureux, Christopher G & Poon, Percy, 1987. " The Market Reaction to Stock Splits," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 42(5), pages 1347-70, December.
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  4. Gary Gorton, 1986. "Banking panics and business cycles," Working Papers 86-9, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  5. Charles W. Calomiris & Eugene N. White, 1994. "The Origins of Federal Deposit Insurance," NBER Chapters, in: The Regulated Economy: A Historical Approach to Political Economy, pages 145-188 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
  7. McNichols, Maureen & Dravid, Ajay, 1990. " Stock Dividends, Stock Splits, and Signaling," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(3), pages 857-79, July.
  8. Black, Fischer & Miller, Merton H & Posner, Richard A, 1978. "An Approach to the Regulation of Bank Holding Companies," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(3), pages 379-412, July.
  9. Berry K. Wilson & Edward J. Kane, 1996. "The Demise of Double Liability as an Optimal Contract for Large-Bank Stockholders," NBER Working Papers 5848, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Kane, Edward J., 1995. "Three paradigms for the role of capitalization requirements in insured financial institutions," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 19(3-4), pages 431-459, June.
  11. Benjamin C. Esty, 1997. "The impact of contingent liability on commercial bank risk taking," Proceedings 557, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  12. Calomiris, Charles W & Kahn, Charles M, 1991. "The Role of Demandable Debt in Structuring Optimal Banking Arrangements," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(3), pages 497-513, June.
  13. Peltzman, Sam, 1970. "Capital Investment in Commercial Banking and Its Relationship to Portfolio Regulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(1), pages 1-26, Jan.-Feb..
  14. Diamond, Douglas W, 1984. "Financial Intermediation and Delegated Monitoring," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 393-414, July.
  15. Ritter, Jay R, 1991. " The Long-run Performance of Initial Public Offerings," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(1), pages 3-27, March.
  16. Kroszner, Randall S. & Rajan, Raghuram G., 1997. "Organization structure and credibility: Evidence from commercial bank securities activities before the Glass-Steagall Act," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 475-516, August.
  17. Lee, Inmoo, 1997. " Do Firms Knowingly Sell Overvalued Equity?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(4), pages 1439-66, September.
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