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Reconciling Bagehot and the Fed's Response to September 11

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  • ANTOINE MARTIN

Abstract

Bagehot (1873) states that to prevent bank panics a central bank should provide liquidity at a "very high rate of interest." In contrast, most of the theoretical literature on liquidity provision suggests that central banks should lend at an interest rate of zero. This is broadly consistent with the Federal Reserve's behavior in the days following September 11, 2001. This paper shows that both policies can be reconciled. With commodity money, as in Bagehot's time, liquidity is scarce and a high price allows banks to self-select. In contrast, the Fed has a virtually unlimited ability to temporarily expand the money supply so self-selection is unnecessary. Copyright (c) 2009 Federal Reserve Bank of New York with Exclusive License to Print by The Ohio State University.

Suggested Citation

  • Antoine Martin, 2009. "Reconciling Bagehot and the Fed's Response to September 11," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 41(2-3), pages 397-415, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcb:jmoncb:v:41:y:2009:i:2-3:p:397-415
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    Cited by:

    1. Xavier Freixas & Antoine Martin & David Skeie, 2011. "Bank Liquidity, Interbank Markets, and Monetary Policy," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 24(8), pages 2656-2692.
    2. Hiroshi Fujiki, 2013. "Policy Measures to Alleviate Foreign Currency Liquidity Shortages under Aggregate Risk with Moral Hazard," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 64(4), pages 504-536, December.
    3. Vincent Bignon & Marc Flandreau & Stefano Ugolini, 2012. "Bagehot for beginners: the making of lender‐of‐last‐resort operations in the mid‐nineteenth century," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 65(2), pages 580-608, May.
    4. Vincent Bignon & Marc Flandreau & Stefano Ugolini, 2009. "Bagehot for beginners: The making of lending of last resort operations in the mid-19th century," Working Paper 2009/22, Norges Bank.

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