The Capital Market in the 1850s
NBER Historical Working Paper No. 11
This paper brings together data from a variety of sources to create a portrait of net rates of return to capital in banking in the 1850s. The primary purpose is to provide estimates comparable to those developed by Lance Davis and many subsequent researchers for the post-bellum period. The conclusion that emerges is that the capital market in the developed regions of the U.S. was fairly well integrated in the 1850s, and that part of the wide divergence in rates observed in the 1870s was due to the disruptions caused by the Civil War.