How Did Pre-Fed Banking Panics End?

92 Pages Posted: 1 Mar 2016  

Gary B. Gorton

Yale School of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Ellis W. Tallman

Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 2016

Abstract

How did pre-Fed banking crises end? How did depositors’ beliefs change? During the National Banking Era, 1863-1914, banks responded to the severe panics by suspending convertibility, that is, they refused to exchange cash for their liabilities (checking accounts). At the start of the suspension period, the private clearing houses cut off bank-specific information. Member banks were legally united into a single entity by the issuance of emergency loan certificates, a joint liability. A new market for certified checks opened, pricing the risk of clearing house failure. Certified checks traded at a discount to cash (a currency premium) in a market that opened during the suspension period. Confidence was restored when the currency premium reached zero.

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Suggested Citation

Gorton, Gary B. and Tallman, Ellis W., How Did Pre-Fed Banking Panics End? (February 2016). NBER Working Paper No. w22036. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2739561

Gary B. Gorton (Contact Author)

Yale School of Management ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://mba.yale.edu/faculty/profiles/gorton.shtml

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Ellis W. Tallman

Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland ( email )

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Cleveland, OH 44101-1387
United States

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