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Why didn't Canada have a banking crisis in 2008 (or in 1930, or 1907, or ...)?

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  • Michael D. Bordo
  • Angela Redish
  • Hugh Rockoff

Abstract

The financial crisis of 2008 engulfed the banking system of the United States and many large European countries. Canada was a notable exception. In this paper we argue that the structure of financial systems is path dependent. The relative stability of the Canadian banks in the recent crisis compared to the United States in our view reflected the original institutional foundations laid in place in the early 19th century in the two countries. The Canadian concentrated banking system that had evolved by the end of the twentieth century had absorbed the key sources of systemic risk -- the mortgage market and investment banking -- and was tightly regulated by one overarching regulator. In contrast the relatively weak, fragmented, and crisis prone U.S. banking system that had evolved since the early nineteenth century, led to the rise of securities markets, investment banks and money market mutual funds (the shadow banking system) combined with multiple competing regulatory authorities. The consequence was that the systemic risk that led to the crisis of 2007-2008 was not contained.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael D. Bordo & Angela Redish & Hugh Rockoff, 2011. "Why didn't Canada have a banking crisis in 2008 (or in 1930, or 1907, or ...)?," NBER Working Papers 17312, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17312
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Eugene N. White, 2011. ""To Establish a More Effective Supervision of Banking": How the Birth of the Fed Altered Bank Supervision," NBER Working Papers 16825, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Odell, Kerry A. & Weidenmier, Marc D., 2004. "Real Shock, Monetary Aftershock: The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and the Panic of 1907," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 64(04), pages 1002-1027, December.
    3. Freedman, C., 1998. "The Canadian Banking System," Technical Reports 81, Bank of Canada.
    4. Moen, Jon & Tallman, Ellis W., 1992. "The Bank Panic of 1907: The Role of Trust Companies," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(03), pages 611-630, September.
    5. Bordo, Michael D. & Rockoff, Hugh & Redish, Angela, 1996. "A comparison of the stability and efficiency of the Canadian and American banking systems, 1870–1925," Financial History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(01), pages 49-68, April.
    6. Keay, Ian & Redish, Angela, 2004. "The micro-economic effects of financial market structure: evidence from 20th century North American steel firms," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 41(4), pages 377-403, October.
    7. Hugh Rockoff, 2009. "Upon Daedalian Wings of Paper Money: Adam Smith and the Crisis of 1772," NBER Working Papers 15594, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Kryzanowski, Lawrence & Roberts, Gordon S, 1993. "Canadian Banking Solvency, 1922-1940," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 25(3), pages 361-376, August.
    9. Bordo, Michael D. & Rockoff, Hugh & Redish, Angela, 1994. "The U.S. Banking System From a Northern Exposure: Stability versus Efficiency," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(02), pages 325-341, June.
    10. 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(02), pages 391-403, June.
    11. R. Alton Gilbert, 1986. "Requiem for Regulation Q: what it did and why it passed away," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Feb, pages 22-37.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Michael D. Bordo & David C. Wheelock, 2010. "The promise and performance of the Federal Reserve as lender of last resort 1914-1933," Working Papers 2010-036, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    2. Mario Fortin, 2015. "Why has the mortgage debt increased by so much in Canada?," Cahiers de recherche 15-03, Departement d'Economique de l'École de gestion à l'Université de Sherbrooke.
    3. Christian Calmès & Raymond Théoret, 2012. "Bank systemic risk and the business cycle: Canadian and U.S. evidence," RePAd Working Paper Series UQO-DSA-wp022012, Département des sciences administratives, UQO.
    4. Alice O. Nakamura & Leonard I. Nakamura & Masao Nakamura, 2012. "Building the Innovation Union: Lessons from the 2008 Financial Crisis," Working Papers 12-17, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    5. Pierre Siklos, 2014. "The Ill Wind that Blows from Europe: Implications for Canada's Economy," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 402, March.
    6. Christian Calmès & Raymond Théoret, 2011. "Bank systemic risk and the business cycle: An empirical investigation using Canadian data," RePAd Working Paper Series UQO-DSA-wp322011, Département des sciences administratives, UQO.
    7. Cihak, Martin & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Johnston, R. Barry, 2013. "Incentive audits : a new approach to financial regulation," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6308, The World Bank.
    8. Christian Calmès & Raymond Théoret, 2012. "The procyclicality of Basel III leverage: Elasticity-based indicators and the Kalman filter," RePAd Working Paper Series UQO-DSA-wp012012, Département des sciences administratives, UQO.

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    JEL classification:

    • N20 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - General, International, or Comparative

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