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Interbank Connections, Contagion and Bank Distress in the Great Depression

Author

Listed:
  • Charles W. Calomiris
  • Matthew S. Jaremski
  • David C. Wheelock

Abstract

Liquidity shocks transmitted through interbank connections contributed to bank distress during the Great Depression. New data on interbank connections reveal that banks were much more likely to close when their correspondents closed. Further, after the Federal Reserve was established, banks’ management of cash and capital buffers was less responsive to network liquidity risk, suggesting that banks expected the Fed to reduce that risk. Because the Fed’s presence removed the incentives for the most systemically important banks to maintain capital and cash buffers that had protected against liquidity risk, it likely contributed to the banking system’s vulnerability to contagion during the Depression.

Suggested Citation

  • Charles W. Calomiris & Matthew S. Jaremski & David C. Wheelock, 2019. "Interbank Connections, Contagion and Bank Distress in the Great Depression," NBER Working Papers 25897, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:25897
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:ucp:bkecon:9780226519999 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Gary Richardson & William Troost, 2009. "Monetary Intervention Mitigated Banking Panics during the Great Depression: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from a Federal Reserve District Border, 1929-1933," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(6), pages 1031-1073, December.
    3. Wicker,Elmus, 1996. "The Banking Panics of the Great Depression," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521562614.
    4. Calomiris, Charles W. & Carlson, Mark, 2016. "Corporate governance and risk management at unprotected banks: National banks in the 1890s," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 119(3), pages 512-532.
    5. Sanjiv R. Das & Kris James Mitchener & Angela Vossmeyer, 2018. "Systemic Risk and the Great Depression," CESifo Working Paper Series 7425, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. Miron, Jeffrey A, 1986. "Financial Panics, the Seasonality of the Nominal Interest Rate, and theFounding of the Fed," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(1), pages 125-140, March.
    7. Heider, Florian & Hoerova, Marie & Holthausen, Cornelia, 2015. "Liquidity hoarding and interbank market rates: The role of counterparty risk," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(2), pages 336-354.
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    16. Jaremski, Matthew & Wheelock, David C., 2019. "The Founding of the Federal Reserve, the Great Depression and the Evolution of the U.S. Interbank Network," Working Papers 2019-2, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, revised 25 Jun 2019.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
    • N22 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-

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