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NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by William Troost

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Working Papers

October 2006Monetary Intervention Mitigated Banking Panics During the Great Depression: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from the Federal Reserve District Border in Mississippi, 1929 to 1933
with Gary Richardson: w12591
The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 divided Mississippi between the 6th (Atlanta) and 8th (St. Louis) Federal Reserve Districts. Before and during the Great Depression, these districts' policies differed. The Atlanta Fed championed monetary activism and the extension of credit to troubled banks. The St. Louis Fed adhered to the doctrine of real bills and eschewed expansionary initiatives. Outcomes differed across districts. In the 6th District, banks failed at lower rates than in the 8th District, particularly during the banking panic in the fall of 1930. The pattern suggests that discount lending reduced failure rates during periods of panic. Historical evidence and statistical analysis corroborates this conclusion.

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