Harvests and Financial Crises in Gold-Standard America
62 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2012
Date Written: December 2012
Most American financial crises of the postbellum gold-standard era were caused by fluctuations in the cotton harvest due to exogenous factors such as weather. The transmission channel ran through export revenues and financial markets under the pre-1914 monetary regime. A poor cotton harvest depressed export revenues and reduced international demand for American assets, which depressed American stock prices, drained deposits from money-center banks and precipitated a business-cycle downturn - conditions that bred financial crises. The crises caused by cotton harvests could have been prevented by an American central bank, even under gold-standard constraints.
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