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Branch Banking as a Device for Discipline: Competition and Bank Survivorship during the Great Depression

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  • Mark Carlson
  • Kris James Mitchener

Abstract

Because California was a pioneer in the development of large-scale branching, we use its experience during the 1920s and 1930s to assess the effects of branching on competition and on the stability of banking systems. Using individual bank balance sheets, income statements, and branch establishment data, we show that smaller incumbent banks responded to the entry of a large branch bank by adjusting their operations in a manner consistent with increased efficiency. Competition from branching networks also produced an externality: unit banks exposed to this competition were more likely to survive the Great Depression than banks not exposed to it. (c) 2009 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

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  • Mark Carlson & Kris James Mitchener, 2009. "Branch Banking as a Device for Discipline: Competition and Bank Survivorship during the Great Depression," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(2), pages 165-210, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:117:y:2009:i:2:p:165-210
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    Cited by:

    1. Kris J. Mitchener & Mari Ohnuki, 2008. "Institutions, Competition, and Capital Market Integration in Japan," NBER Working Papers 14090, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Klein, Alexander & Otsuy, Keisuke, 2013. "Efficiency, Distortions and Factor Utilization during the Interwar Period," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 147, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    3. Nanda, Ramana & Nicholas, Tom, 2014. "Did bank distress stifle innovation during the Great Depression?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(2), pages 273-292.
    4. Alex Klein & Keisuke Otsu, 2013. "Efficiency, Distortions and Factor Utilization during the Interwar Period," Studies in Economics 1317, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    5. Colvin, Christopher L. & de Jong, Abe & Fliers, Philip T., 2015. "Predicting the past: Understanding the causes of bank distress in the Netherlands in the 1920s," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 97-121.
    6. John Landon-Lane & Hugh Rockoff & Richard H. Steckel, 2011. "Droughts, Floods and Financial Distress in the United States," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of Climate Change: Adaptations Past and Present, pages 73-98 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Martin Goetz, 2012. "Bank diversification, market structure and bank risk taking: theory and evidence from U.S. commercial banks," Risk and Policy Analysis Unit Working Paper QAU12-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    8. Chu, Kam Hon, 2015. "Bank consolidation and stability: The Canadian experience, 1867–1935," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 46-60.
    9. John K. Ashton & Andros Gregoriou, 2014. "The Influence of Banking Centralization on Depositors: Regional Heterogeneities in the Transmission of Monetary Policy," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(9), pages 1467-1482, September.
    10. Michael D. Bordo & John Landon-Lane, 2010. "The Lessons from the Banking Panics in the United States in the 1930s for the Financial Crisis of 2007-2008," NBER Working Papers 16365, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Nicolas L. Ziebarth, 2013. "Identifying the Effects of Bank Failures from a Natural Experiment in Mississippi during the Great Depression," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 81-101, January.
    12. Kris James Mitchener & Mari Ohnuki, 2008. "Institutions, Competition, and Capital Market Integration in Japan," IMES Discussion Paper Series 08-E-12, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan.
    13. Chavaz, Matthieu, 2016. "Dis-integrating credit markets: diversification, securitization, and lending in a recovery," Bank of England working papers 617, Bank of England.
    14. Mark A. Carlson, 2008. "Alternatives for distressed banks and the panics of the Great Depression," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2008-07, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    15. Ran Abramitzky, 2015. "Economics and the Modern Economic Historian," NBER Working Papers 21636, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • L1 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance
    • N22 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-

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