The Banking Panics of the Great Depression

The Banking Panics of the Great Depression

by Elmus Wicker
     
 

This is the first full-length study of five U.S. banking panics of the Great Depression. Previous studies of the Depression have approached the banking panics from a macroeconomic viewpoint; Professor Wicker fills a lacuna in current knowledge by reconstructing a close historical narrative of each of the panics, investigating their origins, magnitude, and effects. He… See more details below

Overview

This is the first full-length study of five U.S. banking panics of the Great Depression. Previous studies of the Depression have approached the banking panics from a macroeconomic viewpoint; Professor Wicker fills a lacuna in current knowledge by reconstructing a close historical narrative of each of the panics, investigating their origins, magnitude, and effects. He makes a detailed analysis of the geographical incidence of the disturbances using the Federal Reserve District as the basic unit, and reappraises the role of Federal Reserve officials in the panics. His findings challenge many of the commonly held assumptions about the events of 1930 and 1931, for example the belief that the increase in the discount rate in October 1931 initiated a wave of bank suspensions and hoarding. This meticulous account will be of wide interest to students of the Great Depression, monetary and financial historians, financial economists and macroeconomists.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521562614
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
06/28/2004
Series:
Studies in Macroeconomic History Series
Pages:
196
Product dimensions:
5.98(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.55(d)

Table of Contents

List of figures
List of tables
Preface
1The banking situation in the United States, 1921-331
States of the economy, 1921-9 and 1930-33
The incidence of bank suspensions5
Financial condition of US banks: 1921-9 and 1930-38
Definitions, characteristics and theories of banking panics17
Banking panics of the Great Depression: an overview19
2The banking crisis of 193024
The geographical incidence of the banking crisis of 193025
The microhistory of the banking crisis32
Interest rates and the banking crisis of 193032
Expenditure effects of the banking crisis42
The banking crisis as a cause of the Great Depression46
The role of the Federal Reserve in the banking crisis52
What should the Fed have done?57
3The two banking crises of 193162
The region specific second banking crisis: April-August 193166
The third banking crisis: September-October 1931 - two crises contrasted72
Mini panics in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Chicago78
The gold crisis: Britain's departure from the gold standard and the Fed's response86
Was there something special about the 1931 banking crisis?97
Role of the 1931 crises in contributing to the Great Depression99
4The banking panic of 1933108
The long pause between financial storms: 1932110
The gathering storm116
The external drain129
Money and capital markets during the panic132
The Fed's response to the gathering storm134
Expenditure effects of the 1933 panic138
Did the 1933 panic resemble pre-1914 panics?141
The resolution of the banking panic145
5Banking crises of the Great Depression: a reassessment151
The geographical incidence of banking crises152
Did the banking crises of the Great Depression differ from pre-1914 panics?154
Did bank failures cause the Great Depression?159
The role of gold during banking panics161
Causes of bank suspensions: random withdrawals or asset shocks?162
References166
Index171

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