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

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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File URL: http://repec.graduateinstitute.ch/pdfs/Working_papers/HEIDWP02-2010.pdf
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Paper provided by Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies in its series IHEID Working Papers with number 02-2010.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: 06 Dec 2009
Date of revision: Feb 2010
Handle: RePEc:gii:giihei:heidwp02-2010
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  1. Eichengreen, Barry, 1996. "Golden Fetters: The Gold Standard and the Great Depression, 1919-1939," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195101133, March.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. João A. C. Santos, 1998. "Commercial banks in the securities business: A review," BIS Working Papers 56, Bank for International Settlements.
  5. 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.
  6. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521583626 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Marc Flandreau & Juan H. Flores & Norbert Gaillard & Sebastián Nieto-Parra, 2009. "The End of Gatekeeping: Underwriters and the Quality of Sovereign Bond Markets, 1815–2007," Working Papers CEB 10-017.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
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