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The Development of Opacity in U.S. Banking

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  • Gary Gorton

Abstract

An examination of U.S. banking history shows that economically efficient private bank money requires that information-revealing securities markets for bank liabilities be closed. That is, banks are optimally opaque, which is why they are regulated and examined. I show this by examining the transition from private bank notes, the predominant form of money before the U.S. Civil War, to demand deposits and show that markets endogenous closed. The opacity of bank money in the recent financial crisis is also briefly discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Gary Gorton, 2013. "The Development of Opacity in U.S. Banking," NBER Working Papers 19540, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19540
    Note: CF DAE ME
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w19540.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Armantier, Olivier & Ghysels, Eric & Sarkar, Asani & Shrader, Jeffrey, 2015. "Discount window stigma during the 2007–2008 financial crisis," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(2), pages 317-335.
    2. Tri Vi Dang & Gary Gorton & Bengt Holmström & Guillermo Ordoñez, 2017. "Banks as Secret Keepers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(4), pages 1005-1029, April.
    3. Gorton, Gary B., 2010. "Slapped by the Invisible Hand: The Panic of 2007," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199734153.
    4. Gorton, Gary, 1988. "Banking Panics and Business Cycles," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 40(4), pages 751-781, December.
    5. Gorton, Gary, 1985. "Clearinghouses and the Origin of Central Banking in the United States," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 45(02), pages 277-283, June.
    6. Gorton, Gary, 1999. "Pricing free bank notes," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 33-64, August.
    7. Gorton, Gary & Metrick, Andrew, 2012. "Securitized banking and the run on repo," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(3), pages 425-451.
    8. Timberlake, Richard H, Jr, 1984. "The Central Banking Role of Clearinghouse Associations," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 16(1), pages 1-15, February.
    9. N/A, 1996. "Note:," Foreign Trade Review, , vol. 31(1-2), pages 1-1, January.
    10. Gorton, Gary, 1996. "Reputation Formation in Early Bank Note Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(2), pages 346-397, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dermine, Jean, 2015. "Basel III leverage ratio requirement and the probability of bank runs," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 266-277.
    2. Bushman, Robert M., 2014. "Thoughts on financial accounting and the banking industry," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 384-395.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E41 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Demand for Money
    • E42 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Monetary Sytsems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System
    • 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

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