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

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  • Tallman, Ellis W
  • Wicker, Elmus R.

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Tallman, Ellis W & Wicker, Elmus R., 2009. "Banking and Financial Crises in United States History: What Guidance can History Offer Policymakers?," MPRA Paper 21839, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:21839
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Moen, Jon R. & Tallman, Ellis W., 2000. "Clearinghouse Membership and Deposit Contraction during the Panic of 1907," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(01), pages 145-163, March.
    2. Gerald P. Dwyer & R. Alton Gilbert, 1989. "Bank runs and private remedies," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 43-61.
    3. Wicker,Elmus, 1996. "The Banking Panics of the Great Depression," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521562614.
    4. Moritz Schularick & Alan M. Taylor, 2012. "Credit Booms Gone Bust: Monetary Policy, Leverage Cycles, and Financial Crises, 1870-2008," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(2), pages 1029-1061, April.
    5. 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.
    6. Romer, Christina, 1986. "Spurious Volatility in Historical Unemployment Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(1), pages 1-37, February.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. Tallman, Ellis W. & Moen, Jon R., 2012. "Liquidity creation without a central bank: Clearing house loan certificates in the banking panic of 1907," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 277-291.
    10. 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.
    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. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. METAXAS, Theodore & TROMPATZI, Georgia, 2015. "From The Bank Panic Of 1907 To The Great Depression Of 1929 And The Savings And Loan Crisis Of The 1980s: Comparative Analysis And Lessons For The Future," Applied Econometrics and International Development, Euro-American Association of Economic Development, vol. 15(1), pages 79-96.
    2. Richhild Moessner & William A. Allen, 2011. "Las crisis bancarias y el sistema monetario internacional en la Gran Depresión y en la actualidad," Revista de Economía Institucional, Universidad Externado de Colombia - Facultad de Economía, vol. 13(25), pages 43-87, July-Dece.
    3. Michael D. Bordo & John Landon-Lane, 2010. "The Lessons from the Banking Panics in the United States in the 1930s for the Financial Crisis of 2007-2008," NBER Working Papers 16365, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Trompatzi, Georgia & Metaxas, Theodore, 2013. "From the Bank Panic of 1907 to the Great Depression of 1929 and the Savings and Loan Crisis of the 1980s: Lessons for the future," MPRA Paper 48272, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Kay Giesecke & Francis A. Longstaff & Stephen Schaefer & Ilya Strebulaev, 2012. "Macroeconomic Effects of Corporate Default Crises: A Long-Term Perspective," NBER Working Papers 17854, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Systemic Risk; Financial Crises; Bank Failures;

    JEL classification:

    • N22 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • N21 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913

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