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A 'Friend and Advisor': Management, Auditors, and Confidence in Germany's Credit Cooperatives, 1889-1914

  • Timothy W. Guinnane

    ()

    (Economic Growth Center, Yale University)

Economic enterprises face two, related, managerial problems: effective management of the enterprise's activities, and communicating to outsiders that the enterprise is in fact well-run. These problems were especially difficult in the credit cooperative movement that grew up in Germany in the second half of the nineteenth century. These successful cooperatives thrived because they could harness the information and ties among local people to obviate many of the problems that faced other lenders. Doing so required managers who were themselves local people. Yet few if any locals had any banking experience, and most were not even familiar with basic accounting methods. These local managers created internal management problems and enhanced outside suspicion of the cooperatives as banking enterprises. The methods developed to overcome these problems relied on a combination of local initiative and regional assistance that was typical of the movement as a whole. The movement's ability to train its own talent suggests a broader impact not captured by statistics on membership or financial assets.

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File URL: http://www.econ.yale.edu/growth_pdf/cdp824.pdf
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Paper provided by Economic Growth Center, Yale University in its series Working Papers with number 824.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: May 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:egc:wpaper:824
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  1. Naomi R. Lamoreaux, 1991. "Information Problems and Banks' Specialization in Short-Term Commercial Lending: New England in the Nineteenth Century," NBER Chapters, in: Inside the Business Enterprise: Historical Perspectives on the Use of Information, pages 161-204 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Guinnane, T. & Banerjee, A. & Besley, T., 1993. "Thy Neighbor's Keeper: the Design of a Credit Cooperative with Theory and a Test," Papers 705, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  3. Timothy W. Guinnane & Ingrid Henriksen, 1997. "Why Danish Credit Co-operatives were so unimportant," Discussion Papers 97-25, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  4. Lamoreaux,Naomi R., 1994. "Insider Lending," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521460965, May.
  5. Diamond, Douglas W, 1984. "Financial Intermediation and Delegated Monitoring," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 393-414, July.
  6. Calomiris, Charles W & Kahn, Charles M, 1991. "The Role of Demandable Debt in Structuring Optimal Banking Arrangements," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(3), pages 497-513, June.
  7. Guinnane, Timothy W., 1997. "Regional organizations in the German cooperative banking system in the late 19th century," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 251-274, September.
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