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Where It All Began: Lending of Last Resort and the Bank of England during the Overend, Gurney Panic of 1866

  • Flandreau, Marc
  • Ugolini, Stefano

In this article, we use the original ledgers of the Bank of England to document which institutions received liquidity during the crisis of 1866. The so-called Overend-Gurney panic is when the Bank began adopting lending of last resort policies (Bignon, Flandreau and Ugolini 2011). We compare 1865 (a 'normal' year) to 1866. Important findings include: (a) the statistical predominance of foreign bills in the material brought to the Bank of England; (b) the correlation between the geography of bills and British trade patterns; (c) a marked contrast between normal times lending and crisis lending in that main financial intermediaries and the 'shadow banking system' only showed up at the Bank's window during crises; (d) the importance of money market investors (bills brokers) as chief conduit of liquidity provision in crisis; (e) the importance of Bank of England's supervisory policies in ensuring lending-of-last-resort operations without enhancing moral hazard. These features call for important and interesting parallels with recent policies adopted by the Federal Reserve to deal with the sub-prime crisis.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8362.

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Date of creation: Apr 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8362
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  1. Flandreau, Marc & Jobst, Clemens, 2005. "The Ties that Divide: A Network Analysis of the International Monetary System, 1890 1910," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 65(04), pages 977-1007, December.
  2. Flandreau, Marc, 2004. "The Glitter of Gold: France, Bimetallism, and the Emergence of the International Gold Standard, 1848-1873," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199257867.
  3. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/605 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Barry Eichengreen, Marc Flandreau, 2010. "The Federal Reserve, the Bank of England, and the Rise of the Dollar as an International Currency, 1914-1939," IHEID Working Papers 16-2010, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies.
  5. Flandreau, Marc & Jobst, Clemens, 2005. "The Ties that Divide. A Network Analysis of the International Monetary System," CEPR Discussion Papers 5129, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Charles Goodhart, 1988. "The Evolution of Central Banks," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262570734, June.
  7. Gary B. Gorton, 2010. "Questions and Answers about the Financial Crisis," NBER Working Papers 15787, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Okazaki, Tetsuji, 2007. "Micro-aspects of monetary policy: Lender of Last Resort and selection of banks in pre-war Japan," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 44(4), pages 657-679, October.
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