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How important are banks for development? National banks in the United States 1870–1900

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  • Scott Fulford

    (Boston College)

Abstract

What financial services matter for growth? This paper examines the effects national banks had on growth in the United States from 1870-1900. These banks were commercial not investment banks: they made short term loans and could not take land as collateral. I use the discontinuity in entry caused by a large minimum capital requirement to identify the effects of banking. Counties getting a bank increased production per person substantially and tilted production towards agriculture over manufacturing by expanding land under cultivation, not improving yields. The effects are highly persistent and show that the commercial activities of banks matter for growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Scott Fulford, 2010. "How important are banks for development? National banks in the United States 1870–1900," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 753, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 15 Dec 2014.
  • Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:753
    Note: Previously circulated as "If financial development matters, then how? National banks in the United States 1870-1900"
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2004. "From Physical to Human Capital Accumulation: Inequality and the Process of Development," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(4), pages 1001-1026.
    2. Rockoff, Hugh T., 1975. "Varieties of Banking and Regional Economic Development in the United States, 1840–1860," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 35(01), pages 160-181, March.
    3. Greenwood, Jeremy & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1990. "Financial Development, Growth, and the Distribution of Income," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 1076-1107, October.
    4. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 1993. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(1), pages 35-52.
    5. James, John A, 1976. "Banking Market Structure, Risk, and the Pattern of Local Interest Rates in the United States, 1893-1911," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 58(4), pages 453-462, November.
    6. Jeremy Atack & Fred Bateman & Michael Haines & Robert A. Margo, 2009. "Did Railroads Induce Or Follow Economic Growth? Urbanization And Population Growth In The American Midwest, 1850-60," Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series dp-178, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    7. Banerjee, Abhijit V & Newman, Andrew F, 1993. "Occupational Choice and the Process of Development," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 274-298, April.
    8. Robert M. Townsend & Kenichi Ueda, 2006. "Financial Deepening, Inequality, and Growth: A Model-Based Quantitative Evaluation -super-1," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(1), pages 251-293.
    9. Levine, Ross, 2005. "Finance and Growth: Theory and Evidence," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 12, pages 865-934 Elsevier.
    10. Scott Fulford, 2010. "The effects of financial development in the short and long run," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 741, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 31 May 2011.
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    Cited by:

    1. Matthew Jaremski & Peter L. Rousseau, 2013. "Banks, Free Banks, And U.S. Economic Growth," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(2), pages 1603-1621, April.
    2. Scott Fulford & Ivan Petkov & Fabio Schiantarelli, 2015. "Does It Matter Where You Came From? Ancestry Composition and Economic Performance of U.S. Counties, 1850-2010," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 875, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 02 Feb 2017.
    3. Pere Arqué-Castells & Elisabet Viladecans-Marsal, 2013. "Banking towards development: Evidence from the Spanish banking expansion plan," Working Papers 2013/8, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    4. Pere Arqué-castells & Elisabet Viladecans-Marsal, 2016. "Banking the unbanked: Evidence from the Spanish Banking Expansion Plan," Working Papers 2016/24, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    5. Howard Bodenhorn & David Cuberes, 2010. "Financial Development and City Growth: Evidence from Northeastern American Cities, 1790-1870," NBER Working Papers 15997, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    National banks; commercial banking; development; growth;

    JEL classification:

    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making

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