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Conflicts of Interest, Reputation, and the Interwar Debt Crisis: Banksters or Bad Luck?

  • Flandreau, Marc
  • Gaillard, Norbert
  • Panizza, Ugo

This paper builds a new dataset with detailed information on the universe of foreign government bonds issued in New York in the 1920s and uses these data to describe the behavior of the financial intermediaries which operated in the New York market during the period leading to the interwar debt crisis. The paper starts by showing that concerns over reputation played an important role in intermediaries’ underwriting choices. Next, the paper checks whether banks managed to charge abnormal underwriting fees on bonds that would eventually default and finds no evidence of such practice ("banksterism"). The paper concludes by discussing some parallels between the experience of the 1920s and the current debate on the "originate and distribute" model.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7705.

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Date of creation: Feb 2010
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7705
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  1. Michaely, Roni & Shaw, Wayne H, 1994. "The Pricing of Initial Public Offerings: Tests of Adverse-Selection and Signaling Theories," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 7(2), pages 279-319.
  2. João Santos, 1998. "Commercial Banks in the Securities Business: A Review," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 35-60, July.
  3. Flandreau, Marc & Flores Zendejas, Juan Huitzilihuitl & Gaillard, Norbert & Nieto-Parra, Sebastián, 2009. "The End of Gatekeeping: Underwriters and the Quality of Sovereign Bond Markets, 1815-2007," CEPR Discussion Papers 7347, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Chemmanur, Thomas J & Fulghieri, Paolo, 1994. " Investment Bank Reputation, Information Production, and Financial Intermediation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 49(1), pages 57-79, March.
  5. Barry Eichengreen, 1992. "Golden Fetters: The Gold Standard and the Great Depression, 1919-1939," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number eich92-1, June.
  6. Flandreau, Marc & Gaillard, Norbert & Packer, Frank, 2009. "Ratings Performance, Regulation and the Great Depression: Lessons from Foreign Government Securities," CEPR Discussion Papers 7328, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521583626 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Flandreau, Marc & Flores, Juan H., 2009. "Bonds and Brands: Foundations of Sovereign Debt Markets, 1820–1830," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 69(03), pages 646-684, September.
  9. Ramirez, Carlos D, 2002. "Did Banks' Security Affiliates Add Value? Evidence from the Commercial Banking Industry during the 1920s," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 34(2), pages 393-411, May.
  10. Megginson, William L & Weiss, Kathleen A, 1991. " Venture Capitalist Certification in Initial Public Offerings," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(3), pages 879-903, July.
  11. J. Bradford De Long, 1990. "Did J.P. Morgan's Men Add Value? A Historical Perspective on Financial Capitalism," NBER Working Papers 3426, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Booth, James R. & Smith, Richard II, 1986. "Capital raising, underwriting and the certification hypothesis," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1-2), pages 261-281.
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