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Asymmetric Information and Financial Crises: A Historical Perspective

  • Frederic S. Mishkin

This paper examines the nature of financial crises from a historical perspective using the new and burgeoning literature on asymmetric information and financial structure. After describing how this literature helps to understand the nature of financial crises, the paper focuses on a historical examination of a series of financial crises in the United States, beginning with the panic of 1857 and ending with the stock market crash of October 19,1987. The asymmetric information approach explains the patterns in the data and many features of these crises which are otherwise hard to explain. It also suggests why financial crises have had such important consequences for the aggregate economy over the past one hundred and fifty years.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w3400.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3400.

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Date of creation: Jul 1990
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Financial Markets and Financial Crises, edited by R. Glenn Hubbard, pp. 69- 108. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1991.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3400
Note: EFG ME
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page: http://www.nber.org
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  1. Mankiw, N Gregory, 1986. "The Allocation of Credit and Financial Collapse," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(3), pages 455-70, August.
  2. Diamond, Douglas W, 1984. "Financial Intermediation and Delegated Monitoring," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 393-414, July.
  3. Mark Gertler, 1988. "Financial structure and aggregate economic activity: an overview," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 559-596.
  4. Mishkin, Frederic S., 1978. "The Household Balance Sheet and the Great Depression," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 38(04), pages 918-937, December.
  5. Hamilton, James D., 1987. "Monetary factors in the great depression," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 145-169, March.
  6. Greenwald, Bruce & Stiglitz, Joseph E & Weiss, Andrew, 1984. "Informational Imperfections in the Capital Market and Macroeconomic Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 194-99, May.
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