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How to Restructure Failed Banking Systems: Lessons from the U.S. in the 1930's and Japan in the 1990's

  • Charles Calomiris
  • Joseph R. Mason

The costs of government assistance to banks depend on the way rescues are managed. The cnetral questions of policy reference do not revolve around whether to bail out banks, but rather around the choice of which banks to rescue and the means for doing so. If a rescue is handled skillfully, the cost can be greatly reduced. The history of assistance to U.S. banks during the Great Depression illustrates these themes well, and can provide useful lessons for Asia today. This paper reviews the history of bank distress and assistance in the United States during the 1930's and examines in detail the role of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation - how it targeted banks, the effect of its assistance, the cost of providing assistance, and the way that it tried to align bank incentives to protect against abuse of government protection. Then, the paper contrasts that experience with the recent government loans and preferred stock purchases for Japanese banks. We argue that combining subsidized preferred stock purchases with mandatory matching contributions of common stock, limits on bank dividend payments, and reforms on bank capital regulation that credibly incorporate market discipline into the regulatory process would increase the benefits and reduce the costs of government support for banks.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9624.

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Date of creation: Apr 2003
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Publication status: published as Ito, Takatoshi and Anne Krueger (eds.) Governance, Regulation, and Privatization in the Asia-Pacific Region National Bureau of Economic Research. University of Chicago Press, 2004.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9624
Note: DAE ME
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  1. Calomiris, Charles W., 1999. "Building an incentive-compatible safety net," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 23(10), pages 1499-1519, October.
  2. Calomiris, Charles W & Kahn, Charles M, 1991. "The Role of Demandable Debt in Structuring Optimal Banking Arrangements," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(3), pages 497-513, June.
  3. Cull, Robert & Senbet, Lemma W. & Sorge, Marco, 2001. "Deposit insurance and financial development," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2682, The World Bank.
  4. Charles W. Calomiris, 1989. "Deposit insurance: lessons from the record," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue May, pages 10-30.
  5. repec:aei:rpbook:53208 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Edward J. Kane, 1998. "Capital movements, asset values, and banking policy in globalized markets," Proceedings 606, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  7. Haubrich, Joseph G., 1990. "Nonmonetary effects of financial crises : Lessons from the great depression in Canada," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 223-252, March.
  8. Barth, James R. & Caprio Jr., Gerard & Levine, Ross, 2001. "Bank regulation and supervision : what works best?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2725, The World Bank.
  9. Calomiris, Charles W., 1990. "Is Deposit Insurance Necessary? A Historical Perspective," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 50(02), pages 283-295, June.
  10. Demirguc-Kunt, Asl1 & Huizinga, Harry, 1999. "Market discipline and financial safety net design," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2183, The World Bank.
  11. Gorton, Gary & Pennacchi, George, 1990. " Financial Intermediaries and Liquidity Creation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(1), pages 49-71, March.
  12. John H. Boyd & Pedro Gomis & Sungkyu Kwak & Bruce D. Smith, 2000. "A User's Guide to Banking Crises," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-36, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  13. Charles W. Calomiris & Gary Gorton, 1991. "The Origins of Banking Panics: Models, Facts, and Bank Regulation," NBER Chapters, in: Financial Markets and Financial Crises, pages 109-174 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Honohan, Patrick & Klingebiel, Daniela, 2000. "Controlling the fiscal costs of banking crises," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2441, The World Bank.
  15. Charles Calomiris & Mark Carey, 1994. "Loan market competition between foreign and U.S. banks: some facts about loans and borrowers," Proceedings 38, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  16. Ali Anari & James Kolari & Joseph Mason, 2002. "Bank Asset Liquidation and the Propagation of the U.S. Great Depression," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 02-35, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
  17. Thomas F. Cargill & Michael M. Hutchison & Takatoshi Ito, 1997. "The Political Economy of Japanese Monetary Policy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262032473, June.
  18. Joseph Mason, 2001. "Do Lender of Last Resort Policies Matter? The Effects of Reconstruction Finance Corporation Assistance to Banks During the Great Depression," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 77-95, September.
  19. Charles W. Calomiris & David C. Wheelock, 1997. "Was the Great Depression a Watershed for American Monetary Policy?," NBER Working Papers 5963, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Liliana Rojas-Suarez, 2001. "Rating Banks in Emerging Markets: What Credit Rating Agencies Should Learn from Financial Indicators," Working Paper Series WP01-6, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  21. Ben S. Bernanke, 1983. "Non-Monetary Effects of the Financial Crisis in the Propagation of the Great Depression," NBER Working Papers 1054, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Asli Demirgüç-Kunt & Enrica Detragiache, 2000. "Does Deposit Insurance Increase Banking System Stability?," IMF Working Papers 00/3, International Monetary Fund.
  23. Charles W. Calomiris & Joseph R. Mason, 2000. "Causes of U.S. Bank Distress During the Depression," NBER Working Papers 7919, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Charles W. Calomiris & Joseph R. Mason, 2003. "Fundamentals, Panics, and Bank Distress During the Depression," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1615-1647, December.
  25. White, Eugene Nelson, 1986. "Before the Glass-Steagall Act: An analysis of the investment banking activities of national banks," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 33-55, January.
  26. Peter Temin, 1991. "Lessons from the Great Depression," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262700441, June.
  27. Charles W. Calomiris & Eugene N. White, 1994. "The Origins of Federal Deposit Insurance," NBER Chapters, in: The Regulated Economy: A Historical Approach to Political Economy, pages 145-188 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. Patrick Honohan & Daniela Klingebiel, 2000. "Controlling fiscal costs of banking crises," Proceedings 682, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  29. Sheard, Paul, 1989. "The main bank system and corporate monitoring and control in Japan," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 399-422, May.
  30. Caprio, Gerard Jr. & Klingebiel, Daniela, 1996. "Bank insolvencies : cross-country experience," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1620, The World Bank.
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