Stefan Gerlach, Peter Kugler, 01 March 2016

The Swiss franc was created in 1850, but the Swiss National Bank wasn’t founded until 1907. The interim was a period of free banking, marked by two successive phases: one of free, unregulated note issue; and then one of strictly limited banking freedom. This column studies the Swiss banking market over this time. The number of banks is found to play an important role in determining the long-run money demand, and in the monetary adjustment process. Further, problems with harmonisation and common regulation created the incentives for monopolisation and centralisation.

Oren Levintal, Joseph Zeira, 21 September 2009

Problems of regulation appear whenever financial innovations change the ways capital markets operate. This column describes the 18th century emergence of the inconvertible banknote, a "toxic asset” ended by government regulation. The lesson is that free financial markets promote financial innovation, but government must provide adequate regulation keeping the market on track.

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