Fetters of Debt, Deposit, or Gold during the Great Depression? The International Propagation of the Banking Crisis of 1931
A banking crisis began in Austria in May 1931 and intensified in July, when runs struck banks throughout Germany. In September, the crisis compelled Britain to quit the gold standard. Newly discovered data shows that failure rates rose for banks in New York City, at the center of the United States money market, in July and August 1931, before Britain abandoned the gold standard and before financial outflows compelled the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates. Banks in New York City had large exposures to foreign deposits and German debt. This paper tests to see whether the foreign exposure of money center banks linked the financial crises on the two sides of the Atlantic.