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The Crash of 1882, Counterparty Risk, and the Bailout of the Paris Bourse

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  • Eugene N. White

Abstract

The rapid growth of derivative markets has raised concerns about counterparty risk. It has been argued that their mutual guarantee funds provide an adequate safety net. While this mutualization of risk protects clients and brokers from idiosyncratic shocks, it is generally assumed that it also offers protection against systemic shocks, largely based on the observation that no twentieth century exchange has been forced to shut down. However, an important exception occurred in 1882 when the crash of the French stock market nearly forced the closure of the Paris Bourse. This exchange's structure was very similar to today's futures markets, with a dominant forward market leading the Bourse to adopt a common fund to guarantee transactions. Using new archival data, this paper shows how the crash overwhelmed the Bourse's common fund. Only an emergency loan from the Bank of France, intermediated by the largest banks, prevented a closure of the Bourse.

Suggested Citation

  • Eugene N. White, 2007. "The Crash of 1882, Counterparty Risk, and the Bailout of the Paris Bourse," NBER Working Papers 12933, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12933 Note: DAE
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Eugene White & Frederic Mishkin, 2002. "U.S.Stock Market Crashes and Their Aftermath: Implications for Monetary Policy," Departmental Working Papers 200208, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
    2. Donald Walker, 2001. "A factual account of the functioning of the nineteenth-century Paris Bourse," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, pages 186-207.
    3. Bernanke, Ben S, 1990. "Clearing and Settlement during the Crash," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 3(1), pages 133-151.
    4. Randall S. Kroszner, 2006. "Central counterparty clearing: history, innovation, and regulation," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q IV, pages 37-41.
    5. Pirrong, S.C., 1997. "A Positive Theory of Financial Exchange Organization with Normative Implications for Financial Market Regulation," Washington University 97-06, Business, Law and Economics Center, John M. Olin School of Business, Washington University.
    6. Neal, Larry & Davis, Lance, 2006. "The evolution of the structure and performance of the London Stock Exchange in the first global financial market, 1812 1914," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(03), pages 279-300, December.
    7. Robert A. Jarrow & Fan Yu, 2008. "Counterparty Risk and the Pricing of Defaultable Securities," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Financial Derivatives Pricing Selected Works of Robert Jarrow, chapter 20, pages 481-515 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    8. Randall S. Kroszner, 1999. "Can the Financial Markets Privately Regulate Risk? The Development of Derivatives Clearing Houses and Recent Over-the Counter Innovations," CRSP working papers 493, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
    9. Randall Kroszner, 2000. "Lessons from Financial Crises: The Role of Clearinghouses," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 18(2), pages 157-171, December.
    10. James T. Moser, 1998. "Contracting innovations and the evolution of clearing and settlement methods at futures exchanges," Working Paper Series WP-98-26, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
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    Cited by:

    1. Markus K. Brunnermeier & Isabel Schnabel, 2014. "Bubbles and Central Banks: Historical Perspectives," Working Papers 1411, Gutenberg School of Management and Economics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, revised 31 Oct 2014.
    2. Raphaël Hekimian, 2017. "The French banking sector during the interwar: What lessons can be drawn from the stock market?," EconomiX Working Papers 2017-3, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.
    3. Hautcoeur, Pierre-Cyrille & Riva, Angelo & White, Eugene N., 2014. "Floating a “lifeboat”: The Banque de France and the crisis of 1889," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, pages 104-119.
    4. 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.
    5. G. Bazot & M. D. Bordo & E. Monnet, 2014. "The Price of Stability. The balance sheet policy of the Banque de France and the Gold Standard (1880-1914)," Working papers 510, Banque de France.
    6. Riva, Angelo & White, Eugene N., 2011. "Danger on the exchange: How counterparty risk was managed on the Paris exchange in the nineteenth century," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 478-493.
    7. 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.
    8. Bazot, Guillaume & Bordo, Michael D. & Monnet, Eric, 2016. "International shocks and the balance sheet of the Bank of France under the classical gold standard," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 87-107.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • G18 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • N23 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - Europe: Pre-1913

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