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Banking and Financial Crises in United States History: What Guidance can History Offer Policymakers?

  • Tallman, Ellis W
  • Wicker, Elmus R.

This paper assesses the validity of comparisons of the current financial crisis with past crises in the United States. We highlight aspects of two National Banking Era crises (the Panic of 1873 and the Panic of 1907) that are relevant for comparison with the Panic of 2008. In 1873, overinvestment in railroad debt and the default of railroad companies on that debt led to the failure of numerous brokerage houses, an antecedent to the modern investment bank. For the Panic of 1907, panic-related deposit withdrawals centered on the less regulated trust companies, which were less directly linked to the existing lender of last resort, similar to investment banks in 2008. The popular press has made numerous references to the banking crises (there were three main ones) of the Great Depression as relevant comparisons to the present crisis. This paper argues that such an analogy is inaccurate in general.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 21839.

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Date of creation: 31 Jul 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:21839
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  1. Jon R. Moen & Ellis W. Tallman, 1994. "Clearinghouse access and bank runs: trust companies in New York and Chicago during the Panic of 1907," FRB Atlanta Working Paper No. 94-12, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  2. James M. Nason & Ellis W. Tallman, 2012. "Business cycles and financial crises: the roles of credit supply and demand shocks," Working Papers 12-24, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  3. Ellis W. Tallman & Jon R. Moen, 1990. "Lessons from the panic of 1907," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, issue May, pages 2-13.
  4. Moen, Jon & Tallman, Ellis W., 1992. "The Bank Panic of 1907: The Role of Trust Companies," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(03), pages 611-630, September.
  5. Charles W. Calomiris & Gary Gorton, . "The Origins of Banking Panics: Models, Facts, and Bank Regulation," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 11-90, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  6. Richardson, Gary, 2007. "Categories and causes of bank distress during the great depression, 1929-1933: The illiquidity versus insolvency debate revisited," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 44(4), pages 588-607, October.
  7. Romer, Christina, 1986. "Spurious Volatility in Historical Unemployment Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(1), pages 1-37, February.
  8. Gerald P. Dwyer, Jr. & R. Alton Gilbert, 1989. "Bank runs and private remedies," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 43-61.
  9. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521562614 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Moritz Schularick & Alan M. Taylor, 2009. "Credit Booms Gone Bust: Monetary Policy, Leverage Cycles and Financial Crises, 1870-2008," NBER Working Papers 15512, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Flannery, Mark J., 2009. "Financial system instability: Threats, prevention, management, and resolution," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 221-223, September.
  12. Bliss, Robert R. & Kaufman, George G., 2006. "Derivatives and systemic risk: Netting, collateral, and closeout," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 55-70, April.
  13. Nathan Balke & Robert J. Gordon, 1986. "Appendix B: Historical Data," NBER Chapters, in: The American Business Cycle: Continuity and Change, pages 781-850 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Ellis W. Tallman & Jon R. Moen, 2007. "Liquidity creation without a lender of last resort: clearinghouse loan certificates in the Banking Panic of 1907," FRB Atlanta Working Paper No. 2006-23, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
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