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Did the founding of the Federal Reserve affect the vulnerability of the interbank system to contagion risk?

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  • Mark A Carlson
  • David C Wheelock

Abstract

As a result of legal restrictions on branch banking, an extensive interbank system developed in the United States during the 19th century to facilitate interregional payments and flows of liquidity and credit. Vast sums moved through the interbank system to meet seasonal and other demands, but the system also transmitted shocks during banking panics. The Federal Reserve was established in 1914 to reduce reliance on the interbank market and correct other defects that caused banking system instability. Drawing on recent theoretical work on interbank networks, we examine how the Fed's establishment affected the system's resilience to solvency and liquidity shocks and whether these shocks might have been contagious. We find that the interbank system became more resilient to solvency shocks, but less resilient to liquidity shocks, as banks sharply reduced their liquidity after the Fed's founding. The industry's response illustrates how the introduction of a lender of last resort can alter private behavior in a way that increases the likelihood that the lender may be needed.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark A Carlson & David C Wheelock, 2016. "Did the founding of the Federal Reserve affect the vulnerability of the interbank system to contagion risk?," BIS Working Papers 598, Bank for International Settlements.
  • Handle: RePEc:bis:biswps:598
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    Cited by:

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    2. Eric Monnet & Francois R. Velde, 2020. "Money, Banking, and Old-School Historical Economics," Working Paper Series WP-2020-28, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    3. Das, Sanjiv & Mitchener, Kris James & Vossmeyer, Angela, 2018. "Systemic Risk and the Great Depression," CEPR Discussion Papers 13416, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Jaremski, Matthew & Wheelock, David C., 2020. "The Founding of the Federal Reserve, the Great Depression, and the Evolution of the U.S. Interbank Network," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 80(1), pages 69-99, March.
    5. Sanjiv R. Das & Kris James Mitchener & Angela Vossmeyer, 2018. "Systemic Risk and the Great Depression," NBER Working Papers 25405, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Richard Senner & Didier Sornette, 2019. "The Holy Grail of Crypto Currencies: Ready to Replace Fiat Money?," Journal of Economic Issues, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 53(4), pages 966-1000, October.
    7. Jaremski, Matthew & Mathy, Gabrial, 2017. "Looking Back On the Age of Checking in America, 1800-1960," MPRA Paper 78083, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Matthew Jaremski & David C. Wheelock, 2020. "Banking on the Boom, Tripped by the Bust: Banks and the World War I Agricultural Price Shock," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 52(7), pages 1719-1754, October.
    9. Felipe Aldunate & Dirk Jenter & Arthur Korteweg & Peter Koudijs, 2021. "Shareholder Liability and Bank Failure," CESifo Working Paper Series 9168, CESifo.
    10. Charles W. Calomiris & Matthew Jaremski & David C. Wheelock, 2019. "Interbank Connections, Contagion and Bank Distress in the Great Depression," Working Papers 2019-001, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    11. Tabak, Benjamin Miranda & Silva, Thiago Christiano & Fiche, Marcelo Estrela & Braz, Tércio, 2021. "Citation likelihood analysis of the interbank financial networks literature: A machine learning and bibliometric approach," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 562(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Federal Reserve System; contagion; systemic risk; seasonal liquidity demand; interbank networks; banking panics; National Banking system;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E42 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Monetary Sytsems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • N11 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • N12 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • N21 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • N22 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-

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