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Free Banking and Bank Entry in Nineteenth-Century New York

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  • Howard Bodenhorn

Abstract

Previous studies of entry under New York's free banking law of 1838 have generated conflicting results. This article shows that different measures of entry lead to different conclusions about the competitive effects of the law. Measured by the entry of new banks, New York's free banking law led to increased rates of entry relative to other states. Free banking did not, however, lead to significant increases in capital accumulation in the industry. This paradoxical outcome resulted from the regulatory features of free banking, especially the bond security feature, which reduced profitability and incentives to invest in banking.

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  • Howard Bodenhorn, 2004. "Free Banking and Bank Entry in Nineteenth-Century New York," NBER Working Papers 10654, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10654
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Howard Bodenhorn, 2006. "Bank Chartering and Political Corruption in Antebellum New York. Free Banking as Reform," NBER Chapters, in: Corruption and Reform: Lessons from America's Economic History, pages 231-257, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Bodenhorn, Howard & Haupert, Michael, 1996. "The Note Issue Paradox in the Free Banking Era," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 56(3), pages 687-693, September.
    3. Claudia Goldin & Gary D. Libecap, 1994. "Introduction to "The Regulated Economy: A Historical Approach to Political Economy"," NBER Chapters, in: The Regulated Economy: A Historical Approach to Political Economy, pages 1-12, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Kenneth L. Sokoloff, 1988. "Inventive Activity in Early Industrial America: Evidence From Patent Records, 1790 - 1846," NBER Working Papers 2707, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Charles W. Calomiris, 1989. "Deposit insurance: lessons from the record," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, vol. 13(May), pages 10-30.
    6. Anna J. Schwartz, 1987. "The Beginning of Competitive Banking in Philadelphia, 1782–1809," NBER Chapters, in: Money in Historical Perspective, pages 3-23, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Arthur J. Rolnick & Warren E. Weber, 1982. "Free banking, wildcat banking, and shinplasters," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, vol. 6(Fall).
    8. Bodenhorn, Howard & Haupert, Michael, 1995. "Was There a Note Issue Conundrum in the Free Banking Era?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(3), pages 702-712, August.
    9. Sylla, Richard & Legler, John B. & Wallis, John J., 1987. "Banks and State Public Finance in the New Republic: The United States, 1790–1860," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 47(2), pages 391-403, June.
    10. Sokoloff, Kenneth L., 1988. "Inventive Activity in Early Industrial America: Evidence From Patent Records, 1790–1846," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 48(4), pages 813-850, December.
    11. Bodenhorn, Howard, 1990. "Entry, Rivalry and Free Banking in Antebellum America," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(4), pages 682-686, November.
    12. Bodenhorn, Howard, 1999. "An Engine of Growth: Real Bills and Schumpeterian Banking in Antebellum New York," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 278-302, July.
    13. Robert B. Litterman, 1982. "Optimal control of the money supply," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, vol. 6(Fall).
    14. Bodenhorn, Howard, 1997. "Private Banking in Antebellum Virginia: Thomas Branch & Sons of Petersburg," Business History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 71(4), pages 513-542, January.
    15. Bulow, Jeremy I, 1982. "Durable-Goods Monopolists," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(2), pages 314-332, April.
    16. Howard Bodenhorn, 1998. "Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 24(1), pages 7-24, Winter.
    17. Bodenhorn, Howard, 1993. "The Business Cycle and Entry into Early American Banking," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(3), pages 531-535, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Alberto Basso & David Cuberes, 2013. "Fertility and Financial Development: Evidence from U.S. Counties in the 19th Century," Working Papers 2013011, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics.
    2. Eric Hilt, 2016. "Corporation Law and the Shift toward Open Access in the Antebellum United States," NBER Chapters, in: Organizations, Civil Society, and the Roots of Development, pages 147-177, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Eric Hilt & Jacqueline Valentine, 2011. "Democratic Dividends: Stockholding, Wealth and Politics in New York, 1791-1826," NBER Working Papers 17147, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Hilt, Eric, 2008. "When did Ownership Separate from Control? Corporate Governance in the Early Nineteenth Century," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 68(3), pages 645-685, September.
    5. Howard Bodenhorn & David Cuberes, 2010. "Financial Development and City Growth: Evidence from Northeastern American Cities, 1790-1870," NBER Working Papers 15997, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N21 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • N41 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913

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