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The Origins of Banking Panics: Models, Facts, and Bank Regulation

In: Financial Markets and Financial Crises

  • Charles W. Calomiris
  • Gary Gorton

Banking panics are the central event informing and rationalizing government intervention into the banking industry. In the last decade progress has been made in understanding the origins of panics. This essay reviews recent theoretical and empirical work on the origins of banking panics. New evidence on the causes of banking panics is introduced. Banking panics do not appear to have been caused by random withdrawal risks associated with seasonal shocks in the countryside. Instead, adverse economic news, in concert with asymmetric information about the incidence of shocks, and problems of bank asset diversification associated with unit banking seem to have led to banking panics.

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This chapter was published in:
  • R. Glenn Hubbard, 1991. "Financial Markets and Financial Crises," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number glen91-1, September.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 11484.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:11484
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    1. Chari, V V & Jagannathan, Ravi, 1988. " Banking Panics, Information, and Rational Expectations Equilibrium," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 43(3), pages 749-61, July.
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    3. 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.
    4. Joseph G. Haubrich & Robert G. King, 1984. "Banking and Insurance," NBER Working Papers 1312, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    6. Bernanke, Ben S, 1983. "Nonmonetary Effects of the Financial Crisis in Propagation of the Great Depression," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(3), pages 257-76, June.
    7. Calomiris, Charles W., 1990. "Is Deposit Insurance Necessary? A Historical Perspective," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 50(02), pages 283-295, June.
    8. Miron, Jeffrey A, 1986. "Financial Panics, the Seasonality of the Nominal Interest Rate, and theFounding of the Fed," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(1), pages 125-40, March.
    9. Douglas W. Diamond, 1984. "Financial Intermediation and Delegated Monitoring," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(3), pages 393-414.
    10. Moen, Jon & Tallman, Ellis W., 1992. "The Bank Panic of 1907: The Role of Trust Companies," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(03), pages 611-630, September.
    11. Hamilton, James D., 1987. "Monetary factors in the great depression," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 145-169, March.
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    13. John H. Boyd & Edward C. Prescott, 1985. "Financial intermediary-coalitions," Staff Report 87, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    14. Postlewaite, Andrew & Vives, Xavier, 1987. "Bank Runs as an Equilibrium Phenomenon," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 485-91, June.
    15. 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.
    16. Donaldson, R.G., 1989. "Sources Of Panics: Evidence From The Weekly Data," Papers 149, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
    17. 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.
    18. Miron, Jeffrey A. & Romer, Christina D., 1990. "A New Monthly Index of Industrial Production, 1884–1940," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 50(02), pages 321-337, June.
    19. Jacklin, Charles J & Bhattacharya, Sudipto, 1988. "Distinguishing Panics and Information-Based Bank Runs: Welfare and Policy Implications," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(3), pages 568-92, June.
    20. Charles W. Calomiris & R. Glenn Hubbard, 1989. "Price Flexibility, Credit Availability, and Economic Fluctuations: Evidence from the United States, 1894–1909," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(3), pages 429-452.
    21. Campbell, Tim S & Kracaw, William A, 1980. " Information Production, Market Signalling, and the Theory of Financial Intermediation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 35(4), pages 863-82, September.
    22. Haubrich, Joseph G., 1990. "Nonmonetary effects of financial crises : Lessons from the great depression in Canada," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 223-252, March.
    23. Rolnick, Arthur J. & Weber, Warren E., 1984. "The causes of free bank failures : A detailed examination," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 267-291, November.
    24. George A. Akerlof, 1970. "The Market for "Lemons": Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500.
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