Did Doubling Reserve Requirements Cause the 1937-38 Recession? New Evidence on the Impact of Reserve Requirements on Bank Reserve Demand and Lending
In 1936-37, the Federal Reserve doubled member banks' reserve requirements. Friedman and Schwartz (1963) famously argued that the doubling increased reserve demand and forced the money supply to contract, which they argued caused the recession of 1937-38. Using a new database on individual banks, we show that higher reserve requirements did not generally increase banks' reserve demand or contract lending because reserve requirements were not binding for most banks. Aggregate effects on credit supply from reserve requirement increases were therefore economically small and statistically zero.
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.
Near-Money Premiums, Monetary Policy, and the Integration of Money Markets : Lessons from Deregulation
The 1960s and 1970s witnessed rapid growth in the markets for new money market instruments, such as negotiable certificates of deposit (CDs) and Eurodollar deposits, as banks and investors sought ways around various regulations affecting funding markets. In this paper, we investigate the impacts of the deregulation and integration of the money markets. We find that the pricing and volume of negotiable CDs and Eurodollars issued were influenced by the availability of other short-term safe assets, especially Treasury bills. Banks appear to have issued these money market instruments as ...
Economics and Politics in Selecting Federal Reserve Cities: Why Missouri Has Two Reserve Banks
Missouri is the only state with two Federal Reserve Banks, and it has long been alleged that political influence explains why Reserve Banks were placed in both St. Louis and Kansas City. Both the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and a powerful member of the Senate Banking Committee hailed from Missouri, which at the time was a solidly Democratic state. The committee charged with selecting cities for Reserve Banks and drawing the boundaries of Federal Reserve Districts claimed that its decisions were based solely on economic grounds, including existing banking and business ties, ...
Reducing moral hazard at the expense of market discipline: the effectiveness of double liability before and during the Great Depression
Prior to the Great Depression, regulators imposed double liability on bank shareholders to ensure financial stability and protect depositors. Under double liability, shareholders of failing banks lost their initial investment and had to pay up to the par value of the stock in order to compensate depositors. We examine whether double liability was effective at mitigating bank risks and providing a safety net for depositors before and during the Great Depression. We first develop a model that demonstrates two competing effects of double liability: a direct effect that constrains bank risk ...
A New Daily Federal Funds Rate Series and History of the Federal Funds Market, 1928-1954
This article describes the origins and development of the federal funds market from its inception in the 1920s to the early 1950s. We present a newly digitized daily data series on the federal funds rate from April 1928 through June 1954. We compare the behavior of the funds rate with other money market interest rates and the Federal Reserve discount rate. Our federal funds rate series will enhance the ability of researchers to study an eventful period in U.S. financial history and to better understand how monetary policy was transmitted to banking and financial markets. For the 1920s and ...
Furnishing an “Elastic Currency”: The Founding of the Fed and the Liquidity of the U.S. Banking System
This article examines how the U.S. banking system responded to the founding of the Federal Reserve System (Fed) in 1914. The Fed was established to bring an end to the frequent crises that plagued the U.S. banking system, which reform proponents attributed to the nation?s ?inelastic? currency stock and dependence on interbank relationships to allocate liquidity and operate the payments system. Reform advocates noted that banking panics tended to occur at times of the year when the demands for currency and bank loans were normally at seasonal peaks and money markets were at their tightest. ...
The first debt ceiling crisis
In the second half of 1953 the United States, for the first time, risked exceeding the statutory limit on Treasury debt. This paper describes how Congress, the White House, and Treasury officials dealt with the looming crisis?by deferring and reducing expenditures, monetizing ?free? gold that remained from the devaluation of the dollar in 1934, and, ultimately, raising the debt ceiling.
“Unconventional” Monetary Policy as Conventional Monetary Policy : A Perspective from the U.S. in the 1920s
To implement monetary policy in the 1920s, the Federal Reserve utilized administered interest rates and conducted open market operations in both government securities and private money market securities, sometimes in fairly considerable amounts. We show how the Fed was able to effectively use these tools to influence conditions in money markets, even those in which it was not an active participant. Moreover, our results suggest that the transmission of monetary policy to money markets occurred not just through changing the supply of reserves but importantly through financial market arbitrage ...
Central Clearing and Systemic Liquidity Risk
By stepping between bilateral counterparties, central counterparties (CCPs) transform credit exposure, thereby improving financial stability. But, large CCPs are concentrated and interconnected with major global banks. Moreover, although they mitigate credit risk, CCPs create liquidity risks, because they require participants to provide cash. Such requirements increase with market volatility; consequently, CCP liquidity needs are inherently procyclical. This procyclicality makes it more challenging to assess CCPs’ resilience in the rare event that one or more large financial institutions ...