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When the Music Stopped: Transatlantic Contagion During the Financial Crisis of 1931

  • Gary Richardson
  • Patrick Van Horn

In 1931, a financial crisis began in Austria, struck numerous European nations, forced Britain to abandon the gold standard, and spread across the Atlantic. This article describes how banks in New York City, the central money market of the United States, reacted to events in Europe. An array of data sources - including memos detailing private conversations between leading bankers the governors of the New York Federal Reserve, articles written by prominent commentators, and financial data drawn from the balance sheets of commercial banks - tell a consistent tale. Banks in New York anticipated events in Europe, prepared for them by accumulating substantial reserves, and during the crisis, continued business as usual. Leading international bankers deliberately and collectively decided on the business-as-usual policy in order to minimize the impact of the panic in the United States and Europe.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17437.

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Date of creation: Sep 2011
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17437
Note: DAE
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  1. Gary Richardson & Patrick Van Horn, 2008. "Intensified Regulatory Scrutiny and Bank Distress in New York City During the Great Depression," NBER Working Papers 14120, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Albrecht Ritschl & Samad Sarferaz, 2014. "Currency Versus Banking In The Financial Crisis Of 1931," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 55, pages 349-373, 05.
  3. Gary Richardson, 2006. "Quarterly Data on the Categories and Causes of Bank Distress During the Great Depression," NBER Working Papers 12715, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Eichengreen, Barry, 1996. "Golden Fetters: The Gold Standard and the Great Depression, 1919-1939," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195101133, March.
  5. Gary Richardson & William Troost, 2006. "Monetary Intervention Mitigated Banking Panics During the Great Depression: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from the Federal Reserve District Border in Mississippi, 1929 to 1933," NBER Working Papers 12591, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Richardson, Gary, 2006. "Records of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in Record Group 82 at the National Archives of the United States," Financial History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(01), pages 123-134, April.
  7. Peter Temin, 1991. "Lessons from the Great Depression," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262700441, June.
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