Many economists view competition among central banks as leading to an over-issue of money. This book challenges the conventional wisdom by showing that competition among Federal Reserve banks in the 1920s did not result in an over-issue problem. The US Congress imposed a more monopolistic structure on the Fed in the mid-1930s so that it could accomodate an increase in the revenue needs of the Treasury. This book is unique in emphasizing the evolution of the Fed's structure from a highly competitive one to a highly monopolistic one.
Preface; 1. Introduction; 2. Microeconomics of the reserve industry; 3. Peculiar economics of the founding of the Fed; 4. Interest on reserves and reserve smoothing in a correspondent banking system; 5. Competitive open market operations; 6. High tide of the Federal Reserve system?; 7. The Fed, executive branch, and public finance, 1934–1939; 8. World War II financing; 9. Historical lessons; References; Index.