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The National Bank Note Controversy Reexamined

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  • Kuehlwein, Michael

Abstract

During the period 1888-1907, national banks proved reluctant to devote the maximum allowable fraction of their capital to the issue of national bank notes. John A. James (1976) attributes this to note issue being less profitable than direct loans. This paper demonstrates note issue was the more profitable investment. Their scarcity is instead attributed to the riskiness of the government bonds required to back them. Tests of a mean-variance model of bank note determination indicate national banks were concerned with both risk and return. Further tests reveal the variance of government bond returns significantly eclipsed that of direct loans. Copyright 1992 by Ohio State University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Kuehlwein, Michael, 1992. "The National Bank Note Controversy Reexamined," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 24(1), pages 111-126, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcb:jmoncb:v:24:y:1992:i:1:p:111-26
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Champ, Bruce & Wallace, Neil & Weber, Warren E., 1994. "Interest rates under the U.S. national banking system," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 343-358, December.
    2. Calomiris, Charles W. & Mason, Joseph R., 2008. "Resolving the puzzle of the underissuance of national bank notes," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 45(4), pages 327-355, September.
    3. Antoine Martin & Cyril Monnet & Warren E. Weber, 2000. "Costly banknote issuance and interest rates under the national banking system," Working Papers 601, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.

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