The Market for Bank Stocks and the Rise of Deposit Banking in New York City, 1866-1897

Peter L. Rousseau

NBER Working Paper No. 15770
Issued in February 2010
NBER Program(s):Development of the American Economy, Monetary Economics

The rapid growth of deposits in New York City over the three decades following the Civil War is often attributed to the release of pent-up demand for the services that transactions accounts could provide. I advance a complementary explanation that centers on the existence of an increasingly efficient market for bank shares. The stock market was important because it generated price and dividend quotations that signaled depositors about the soundness of individual banks, thereby directing the expansion. At the same time, innovations within the city's banks created conditions under which stock prices became more informative, reducing asymmetries between banks and depositors to a point where confidence in banks could grow. Using a new database of stock prices, dividends, and balance sheet items for traded New York City banks from 1866 to 1897, a series of dynamic panel data models supports the proposed mechanism.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w15770

Published: Rousseau, Peter L., 2011. "The Market for Bank Stocks and the Rise of Deposit Banking in New York City, 1866–1897," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 71(04), pages 976-1005, December. citation courtesy of

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