The Evolution of Bank Supervision: Evidence from U.S. States
We use a novel data set spanning 1820-1910 to examine the origins of bank supervision and assess factors leading to the creation of formal bank supervisory institutions across U.S. states. We show that it took more than a century for the widespread adoption of independent supervisory institutions tasked with maintaining the safety and soundness of banks. State legislatures initially pursued cheaper regulatory alternatives, such as double liability laws; however, banking distress at the state level as well as the structural shift from note-issuing to deposit-taking commercial banks propelled policymakers to adopt costly and permanent supervisory institutions.
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