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Economic Effects of Runs on Early 'Shadow Banks': Trust Companies and the Impact of the Panic of 1907

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  • Carola Frydman
  • Eric Hilt
  • Lily Y. Zhou

Abstract

We use the unique circumstances that led to the Panic of 1907 to analyze its impact on economic activity. The panic was fuelled by runs on the 'shadow banks' of the time, New York's trust companies. But the shock that triggered the runs was unrelated to the nonfinancial corporations affiliated with those institutions. Using newly collected data, we find that small corporations with close ties to the trust companies that lost the most deposits experienced an immediate decline in their stock price of 10.4 percentage points, and performed worse in the years following the panic across a range of outcomes, including their return on equity, which fell 13.1 percent, their dividend rate, which fell 22 percent, and their average interest costs, which rose 8.3 percent, relative to mean pre-panic levels. The effect on their investment rate was much greater: it fell by nearly 50 percent. The relative decline in investment induced by affiliations with the worst-affected trust companies alone accounted for at least 18.4 percent of the total decline in corporate investment in the United States in 1908. This effect diminished in magnitude over time but persisted for at least five years following the panic.

Suggested Citation

  • Carola Frydman & Eric Hilt & Lily Y. Zhou, 2012. "Economic Effects of Runs on Early 'Shadow Banks': Trust Companies and the Impact of the Panic of 1907," NBER Working Papers 18264, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18264
    Note: CF DAE ME
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Eric Hilt, 2014. "History of American Corporate Governance: Law, Institutions, and Politics," Annual Review of Financial Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 6(1), pages 1-21, December.
    2. Caroline Fohlin & Thomas Gehrig & Marlene Haas, 2015. "Rumors and Runs in Opaque Markets: Evidence from the Panic of 1907," Emory Economics 1503, Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta).
    3. Carola Frydman & Eric Hilt, 2014. "Investment Banks as Corporate Monitors in the Early 20th Century United States," NBER Working Papers 20544, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Gehrig, Thomas Paul & Fohlin, Caroline & Haas, Marlene, 2015. "Liquidty Freezes and Market Runs; Evidencefrom the Panic of 1907," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113008, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    5. Kyriakos T. Chousakos & Gary B. Gorton, 2017. "Bank Health Post-Crisis," NBER Working Papers 23167, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Ran Abramitzky, 2015. "Economics and the Modern Economic Historian," NBER Working Papers 21636, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • N11 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • N21 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • N81 - Economic History - - Micro-Business History - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913

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