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The winding up of the Ayr Bank, 1772-1816

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    The collapse of the experimental Ayr Bank was the central episode of the 1772-3 credit crisis, and is used as a prominent example in Adam Smith's monetary analysis in the Wealth of Nations. Subsequent literature on the affair has been overly influenced by a small number of printed sources, and has propagated their biases. This article uses previously unpublished manuscript evidence to reconstruct and extend the existing narrative of this famous episode, and identifies the issuance of redeemable annuities in response to the bank's stop of payments in June 1772 as the main cause for the size of its losses.

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    Paper provided by Department of Economic and Social History at the University of Cambridge in its series Working Papers with number 19.

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    Length: 10,432 words (not including abstract) plus 8 tables
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    Publication status: Published in Cambridge Working Paper in Economic & Social History, No. 19
    Handle: RePEc:cmh:wpaper:19
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