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Looking Back On the Age of Checking in America, 1800-1960

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  • Jaremski, Matthew
  • Mathy, Gabrial

Abstract

The United States not only used bank checks the most but also clung to their use far longer than other developed nations. However, now in the twilight of the check, we trace the evolution of the checking system in the United States through its major phases from the founding of the nation through the modern period, including the rise of clearinghouses, the growth of the interbank clearing network, the Federal Reserve’s establishment of nation-wide central clearing, and the adoption of standardized magnetic imaging for easy processing of checks. Our empirical analysis examines the determinants of check clearing both at the aggregate and state-level in order to shed light on the nation’s dominant use of checks.

Suggested Citation

  • Jaremski, Matthew & Mathy, Gabrial, 2017. "Looking Back On the Age of Checking in America, 1800-1960," MPRA Paper 78083, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:78083
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/78083/1/MPRA_paper_78083.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. John A. James & David F. Weiman, 2010. "From Drafts to Checks: The Evolution of Correspondent Banking Networks and the Formation of the Modern U.S. Payments System, 1850-1914," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 42(2-3), pages 237-265, March.
    2. Haelim Anderson & Charles W. Calomiris & Matthew Jaremski & Gary Richardson, 2018. "Liquidity Risk, Bank Networks, and the Value of Joining the Federal Reserve System," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 50(1), pages 173-201, February.
    3. Jeffrey M. Lacker & Jeffrey D. Walker & John A. Weinberg, 1999. "The Fed's entry into check clearing reconsidered," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Spr, pages 1-32.
    4. Economides, Nicholas & Hubbard, R Glenn & Palia, Darius, 1996. "The Political Economy of Branching Restrictions and Deposit Insurance: A Model of Monopolistic Competition among Small and Large Banks," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 39(2), pages 667-704, October.
    5. Jaremski, Matthew, 2011. "Bank-Specific Default Risk in the Pricing of Bank Note Discounts," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 71(4), pages 950-975, December.
    6. Richardson, Gary, 2007. "The Check is in the Mail: Correspondent Clearing and the Collapse of the Banking System, 1930 to 1933," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 67(3), pages 643-671, September.
    7. Mitchener, Kris James & Jaremski, Matthew, 2015. "The Evolution of Bank Supervisory Institutions: Evidence from American States," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 75(3), pages 819-859, September.
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    11. Geoffrey R. Gerdes & May X. Liu & Darrel W. Parke & Jack K. Walton, 2005. "Trends in the use of payment instruments in the United States," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), vol. 91(Spr), pages 180-201.
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    15. Mark A. Carlson & David C. Wheelock, 2016. "Did the Founding of the Federal Reserve Affect the Vulnerability of the Interbank System to Systemic Risk?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2016-059, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    16. Mark Carlson & David C. Wheelock, 2018. "Did the Founding of the Federal Reserve Affect the Vulnerability of the Interbank System to Contagion Risk?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 50(8), pages 1711-1750, December.
    17. Matthew Jaremski & David C. Wheelock, 2015. "Banker Preferences, Interbank Connections, and the Enduring Structure of the Federal Reserve System," Working Papers 2015-11, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    18. Stephen F. Quinn & William Roberds, 2008. "The evolution of the check as a means of payment: a historical survey," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, vol. 93(4).
    19. Maddison, Angus, 2007. "Contours of the World Economy 1-2030 AD: Essays in Macro-Economic History," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199227204.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    payment system; personal checks; banks; United States;

    JEL classification:

    • E42 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Monetary Sytsems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System
    • G2 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services
    • N14 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: 1913-

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