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Private payments systems in historical perspective: the Banco Central system of Mexico

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  • Patrice Robitaille

Abstract

Payments systems have grown considerably and have become increasingly complex, prompting regulators to reassess their roles and renewing interest in historical experiences with payments systems. In this paper, I study the Banco Central System of Mexico, which was a bank note par redemption and clearing system for other payments that operated in Mexico City from 1899 until 1913. I first describe the origins of the Banco Central System. I then consider whether it became prone to behavioral problems, as some observers contended. I find that although Banco Central was less well-positioned to address incentive problems relative to one of its counterparts in the United States (the Suffolk Bank of Boston), it did act to constrain bank behavior. However, considerable government intervention weakened the disciplinary role of Banco Central and thus made the system more prone to collapse.

Suggested Citation

  • Patrice Robitaille, 1997. "Private payments systems in historical perspective: the Banco Central system of Mexico," International Finance Discussion Papers 599, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:599
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Cowen, Tyler & Kroszner, Randall, 1989. "Scottish Banking before 1845: A Model for Laissez-Faire?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 21(2), pages 221-231, May.
    2. George A. Selgin & Lawrence H. White, 1994. "How Would the Invisible Hand Handle Money?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(4), pages 1718-1749, December.
    3. Charles W. Calomiris, 1989. "Deposit insurance: lessons from the record," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue May, pages 10-30.
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    Keywords

    Payment systems ; Mexico;

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