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Money, Banking, and Monetary Policy from the Formation of the Federal Reserve until Today
The United States Congress created the Federal Reserve System in 1913. The System consists of the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, D.C.; 12 Federal Reserve Banks; and thousands of member commercial banks. This entry describes the evolution of the System and of monetary policy from its foundation through 2013.
Network Contagion and Interbank Amplification during the Great Depression
Interbank networks amplified the contraction in lending during the Great Depression. Banking panics induced banks in the hinterland to withdraw interbank deposits from Federal Reserve member banks located in reserve and central reserve cities. These correspondent banks responded by curtailing lending to businesses. Between the peak in the summer of 1929 and the banking holiday in the winter of 1933, interbank amplification reduced aggregate lending in the U.S. economy by an estimated 15 percent.
Liquidity Risk, Bank Networks, and the Value of Joining the Federal Reserve System
Reducing systemic liquidity risk related to seasonal swings in loan demand was one reason for the founding of the Federal Reserve System. Existing evidence on the post-Federal Reserve increase in the seasonal volatility of aggregate lending and the decrease in seasonal interest rate swings suggests that it succeeded in that mission. Nevertheless, less than 8 percent of state-chartered banks joined the Federal Reserve in its first decade. Some have speculated that nonmembers could avoid higher costs of the Federal Reserve?s reserve requirements while still obtaining access indirectly to the ...
In the Eye of a Storm: Manhattan's Money Center Banks during the International Financial Crisis of 1931
In 1931, a financial crisis began in Austria, spread to Germany, forced Britain to abandon the gold standard, crossed the Atlantic, and afflicted financial institutions in the United States. This article describes how banks in New York City, the central money market of the United States, reacted to this trans-Atlantic financial disturbance. An array of sources tells a consistent tale. Banks in New York anticipated events in Europe, prepared for them by accumulating substantial reserves, and during the crisis, continued business as usual. New York's leading bankers deliberately and ...
The Cost of Fed Membership
Since the Federal Reserve's founding, it has paid a regular dividend to banks that are members of the Federal Reserve System in exchange for those banks holding stock in Federal Reserve Banks. Recent transportation legislation reduced these dividends and used the savings to help fund the bill. While this move provided a short-term financing fix, it also raised a much bigger question of whether banks will want to remain members of the Federal Reserve System.
Whom Do the Federal Reserve Bank Boards Serve?
The long-standing governance model of the Federal Reserve Banks, including their boards and the directors who serve on them, is under growing criticism. Calls are increasing for the boards to sever direct ties to banking and finance and become more diverse in their representation, as well as to offer more transparency to the public. As history shows, this governance model always has been the subject of political scrutiny, as public concepts of diversity ? and the Fed's functions ? have evolved over time.
Payments Crises and Consequences
Banking-system shutdowns during contractions scar economies. Four times in the lastforty years, governors suspended payments from state-insured depository institutions. Suspensionsof payments in Nebraska (1983), Ohio (1985), and Maryland (1985), which wereshort and occurred during expansions, had little measurable impact on macroeconomic aggregates.Rhode Island’s payments crisis (1991), which was prolonged and occurred duringa recession, lengthened and deepened the downturn. Unemployment increased. Outputdeclined, possibly permanently relative to what might have been. We document these ...
The Macroeconomic Fallout of Shutting Down the Banking System
During the 2008–09 financial crisis, the U.S. government arranged bailouts of major banks to prevent a suspension of bank deposits, where banks cease paying checks and refuse depositors’ requests to withdraw funds. Although these bailouts likely helped firms and households continue to make payments, they have been debated due to potential moral hazard concerns as well as the high cost to taxpayers. Assessing the costs and benefits of preventing deposit suspensions is difficult, as nationwide bank suspensions have not occurred since the Great Depression.To circumvent this challenge, Qian ...