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The Crisis of 1866

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Abstract

The collapse of Overend Gurney and the ensuing Crisis of 1866 was a turning point in British financial history. The achievement of relative stability was due to the Bank of England’s willingness to offer generous assistance to the market in a crisis, combined with an elaborate system for maintaining the quality of bills in the market. We suggest that the Bank bolstered the resilience of the money market by monitoring leverage-building by money market participants and threatening exclusion from the discount window. When the Bank refused to bailout Overend Gurney in 1866 there was panic in the market. The Bank responded by lending freely and raising the Bank rate to very high levels. The new policy was crucial in allowing for the establishment of sterling as an international currency.

Suggested Citation

  • Marc Flandreau & Stefano Ugolini, 2014. "The Crisis of 1866," IHEID Working Papers 10-2014, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:gii:giihei:heidwp10-2014
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Stefano Ugolini, 2011. "Foreign exchange reserve management in the 19th century: The National Bank of Belgium in the 1850s," Working Paper 2011/07, Norges Bank.
    2. Marc Flandreau, Stefano Ugolini, 2011. "Where It All Began: Lending of Last Resort and the Bank of England during the Overend, Gurney Panic of 1866," IHEID Working Papers 04-2011, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies.
    3. Schwartz, Anna J., 1989. "Money in Historical Perspective," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, number 9780226742281, March.
    4. Vincent Bignon & Marc Flandreau & Stefano Ugolini, 2009. "Bagehot for beginners: The making of lending of last resort operations in the mid-19th century," Working Paper 2009/22, Norges Bank.
    5. Guillermo A. Calvo, 1998. "Capital Flows and Capital-Market Crises: The Simple Economics of Sudden Stops," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 1, pages 35-54, November.
    6. Accominotti, Olivier, 2012. "London Merchant Banks, the Central European Panic, and the Sterling Crisis of 1931," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 72(1), pages 1-43, March.
    7. Vincent Bignon & Marc Flandreau & Stefano Ugolini, 2012. "Bagehot for beginners: the making of lender‐of‐last‐resort operations in the mid‐nineteenth century," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 65(2), pages 580-608, May.
    8. Marc Flandreau & Stefano Ugolini, 2013. "Where It All Began: Lending of Last Resort and Bank of England Monitoring During the Overend-Gurney Panic of 1866," Post-Print hal-01293916, HAL.
    9. Stefano Ugolini, 2010. "The international monetary system, 1844-1870: Arbitrage, efficiency, liquidity," Working Paper 2010/23, Norges Bank.
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    Cited by:

    1. Calomiris, Charles W. & Flandreau, Marc & Laeven, Luc, 2016. "Political foundations of the lender of last resort: A global historical narrative," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 48-65.
    2. Mike Anson & David Bholat & Miao Kang & Ryland Thomas, 2017. "The Bank of England as Lender of Last Resort: New historical evidence from daily transactional data," Working Papers 0117, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    3. Clemens Jobst & Kilian Rieder, 2016. "Principles, circumstances and constraints: the Nationalbank as lender of last resort from 1816 to 1931," Monetary Policy & the Economy, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue 3, pages 140-162.
    4. Stefano Ugolini, 2014. "Comment on: “Floating a “lifeboat”: The Banque de France and the crisis of 1889” by P.C. Hautcoeur, A. Riva, and E.N. White," Post-Print hal-01293759, HAL.
    5. Frederic S. Mishkin & Eugene N. White, 2014. "Unprecedented Actions: The Federal Reserve’s Response to the Global Financial Crisis in Historical Perspective," NBER Working Papers 20737, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Bagehot; Bank of England; Lending of last resort; Supervision; Moral hazard; Discount; Overend Gurney Panic; Baring.;

    JEL classification:

    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913

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