Patrice Baubeau, Eric Monnet, Angelo Riva, Stefano Ungaro, 29 November 2018

Previous research has downplayed the role of banking panics and financial factors in the French Great Depression. This column uses a newly assembled dataset of balance sheets for more than 400 French banks from the interwar period to challenge this long-held idea. The empirical results show two dramatic waves of panic in 1930 and 1931, and point to a flight-to-safety mechanism. The findings illustrate how minor macroeconomic assumptions and extrapolations on monetary statistics can introduce large, persistent biases in historiography.

Michael Bordo, 23 April 2010

Michael Bordo of Rutgers University compares US banking panics in the early 1930s with panics in the shadow banking system and the repo market in 2007 and in investment banks and the universal banking system after Lehman failed. He argues that the bailouts of ‘too big to fail’ banks may lead to future crises, and discusses possible remedies. The interview with Romesh Vaitilingam was recorded at a conference on ‘Lessons from the Great Depression for the Making of Economic Policy’ in London in April 2010.

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