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Politicians, bankers and the Great Depression: The Spanish banking crisis of 1931


  • Jorge-Sotelo, Enrique


This paper contributes to the literature on moral hazard, lending of last resort and the political origins of banking crises. Drawing on newly accessed quantitative and qualitative archival sources the paper documents how a bank - Banco de Cataluña - formed a coalition with the Dictatorship of Primo de Rivera (1923-30) in order to depart from the framework of "constructive ambiguity" that characterized central bank lending of last resort in Spain. As a result, the bank developed a uniquely risky portfolio and incurred in insider lending to internationally exposed firms at the onset of the Great Depression. The fall of the Dictatorship and democratic transition, the collapse of international trade, and global deflation during 1929-31 made fragilities emerge causing the bank to fail.

Suggested Citation

  • Jorge-Sotelo, Enrique, 2022. "Politicians, bankers and the Great Depression: The Spanish banking crisis of 1931," eabh Papers 22-01, The European Association for Banking and Financial History (EABH).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:eabhps:2201

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    moral hazard; lender of last resort; Great Depression;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • N24 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - Europe: 1913-
    • E58 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Central Banks and Their Policies
    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises

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